SALDEF Applauds Basketball Federation’s Head-Covering RulingMay 5th, 2017
Washington, DC—The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) commended the International Basketball Federation’s (FIBA) to let Sikhs pursue their dreams of playing basketball with their articles of faith. The ruling allowing turbans, yarmulkes, and hijabs in international basketball competitions comes after several years of interfaith advocacy with Jewish, Muslim, and other groups.
“Basketball players can finally play freely with their respective articles of faith, without process or paperwork, and beyond their home countries,” said Zoya Singh, Communications Coordinator at SALDEF. “We hope this ruling sends a strong message to other sports bodies that being an observant religious person and an athlete are not mutually exclusive.”
In July 2014, FIBA disallowed turbaned Sikhs from participating in the organization’s Asia Cup. Since then, SALDEF has worked with our interfaith partners to ensure that athletes who wear religious head-coverings can participate fully in international events.
We would like to acknowledge the media work by Darsh Preet Singh, the first turbaned Sikh American to play basketball in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and a member of SALDEF’s Sikh Speakers’ Bureau. SALDEF would also like to thank MPower, The Sikh Coalition, and our other partners who organized petitions and engaged advocated to bring about this change.
Thank you for your support as we continue to use our voice to strengthen religious liberties for all, both on and off the basketball court.
SALDEF has worked collaboratively with civil rights organizations and media on this issue since 2014. Read more:
Time Magazine (Aug. 18, 2016): Hijabs and Turbans Are Not a Threat to Sports
SALDEF (2014): FIBA Delays Ruling on Turban Ban