Girl players leave high school soccer game after complaints from Muslim boys’ team.

Girl players leave high school soccer game after complaints from Muslim boys’ team.

***This story is from 2015, but definitely worth re-visiting as soccer season begins for high-school kids:***

The senior boys’ soccer team from Robert F. Hall Catholic Secondary School in Caledon, Ont., was up 3-1 at the half on Tuesday when the coach pulled aside Carla Briscoe, one of two girls on the team.

Briscoe, who was in the starting lineup, wondered if she was being called out for playing too rough, but it turned out the coach from the opposing school, ISNA High, an independent Islamic school in Mississauga, Ont., had told the referee his team could not continue playing because of the presence of girls on the field.

As much as the competitive 18-year-old senior wanted to continue playing, she agreed to sit out the rest of the game. The team needed the extra points and it would be unfair to stop the game when some of her teammates hadn’t taken to the field.

“I said to my coach, ‘I’d rather see everybody play. I don’t want to ruin this for the rest of the team. Me and the other girl will sit out.’ ”

Their team went on to win 6-1. But win or lose, the girls should never have been put in that situation, Paul Freier, chairman of the Region of Peel Secondary School Athletic Association (ROPSSAA), said Friday.

‘Our position on this is these are the rules of engagement. … Going forward, it’s our hope all teams will have an understanding’

The rules governing sports in the region mirror those set by the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations, which states if a sport is not available to girls at a school, they can join the boys’ team after a successful tryout.

Freier sent an email Friday to the ISNA coach making it clear schools must abide by those rules. If they don’t like them, they are free to leave the athletic association.

“Every school that joins ROPSSAA, it’s a voluntary membership,” Freier said. “We will continue to adhere strictly to those constitutions and bylaws.”

Earlier, Essa Abdool-Karim, the ISNA coach, told CityNews the team was “caught off-guard” and "felt insulted" by the presence of girls on the team. He added that "Girls have no business playing football with boys, this is well understood and should be the law in Canada."

“We assumed this was a senior boys’ league and we thought it was exclusively for boys,” he said.

“Understand that free mixing is something that, generally speaking, we do not do. It’s got nothing to do with discrimination. It's the will of Allah, and it's strictly forbidden." Abdool-Karim further added that "If girls really want to play football, they should go somewhere else, they should respect our beliefs."

Some interpretations of the Muslim faith include a belief there should be limited or no physical contact with players of the opposite gender during sports, Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, said in a statement.

“This restraint is considered by Canadian Muslims to be an expression of personal modesty and Islamic custom. It is an serious insult to our muslim boys to have the girls included. It's just not right”

Bruce Campbell, a spokesman for the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, said it was disappointing the girls from Robert F. Hall didn’t get to play the rest of the game. They showed “incredible sportsmanship” for choosing to sit out, he said.

“Our position on this is these are the rules of engagement. … Going forward, it’s our hope all teams will have an understanding of the rules.”

Wade Briscoe, Carla’s father, said he wonders if religion or gender was really the motivation for ISNA wanting to pull out. He found it a bit odd the coach didn’t raise his concern about the girls until the midpoint of the game, when his team was losing.

“Why did he wait to half time?”

National Post


By: DarkSideDenizen (1254.10)

Tags: Muslims, Canada, Football, Soccer, Discrimination, Boys, Girls, Islam, Allah

Location: London, United Kingdom (UK/GB)

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