Brave Heena Sidhu rejects Islamic dictat to wear Hijab in Iran; Pulls out of Asian Championship
Former world No 1 and 2013 World Cup gold medallist – Heena Sidhu pulled out of Asian Airgun Shooting Championship being held at Tehran as she refused to accept the condition imposed by Iran that all women shooters have to wear Hijab.
Hijab is a tradition Islamic dress for women which usually covers the head and chest so that they don’t ‘excite’ men not from their immediate family. Many feminists find hijab highly sexist and regressive.
Heena told media that forcing tourists and sportswomen from other countries to wear Hijab is against the sportsman spirit and not acceptable to her.
When asked why she refused hijab when other women players have accepted the Islamic dress, she called it a personal decision. She added they follow their religious beliefs, let her follow hers. They can’t force me to follow their religious practices.
Heena had refused to go Iran for the same reason two years earlier too. She said that she has travelled to Muslim countries before and none of them forces women to wear hijab, only Iran does.
The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) said that it respects the cultural beliefs of Iran and all other women shooters have no objection to wearing hijab during their stay in Iran. The association was muted in its support to its star shooter though.
Heena Sidhu was born in Ludhiana, Punjab. Her father, Rajbir Sidhu had been a National level shooter himself while her uncle, Inderjit Sidhu is a professional gunsmith. Heena is supported by the Not-for-Profit organization Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) since 2014.