Indira Kaljo is a Muslim professional basketball player who wears the hijab, and has started an international movement through the hashtag #fibaALLOWhijab with the goal of getting the International Basketball Federation to remove their ban of wearing the hijab during a game.
According to FIBA bylaws, it states: “Players shall not wear equipment [objects] that may cause injury to other players” which includes head coverings larger than five centimeter (i.e. the hijab). “That’s where my campaign came in,” says Kaljo. “Asking how is this harmful, how is a piece of cloth that’s larger than five centimeters harmful?”
In 2014, FIBA agreed to a two-year testing phase, but for Kaljo and other hijabi basketball players, they want permanent change.
Kaljo currently plays for Jeddah United in Saudi Arabia because the team does not operate under FIBA’s rules, and thus, she doesn’t have to choose between faith and sport. “I think once this ban is lifted, it’ll change the perspective of hijabi girls and what they’re allowed to do and what they can do,” says the athlete. “There’s other girls around the world globally, women who want to play, but you’re stopping them from playing the sport that they love.”
The campaign has generated more than 70,000 signatures on Change.org.