Remove ban on wearing head scarf during competition
  • Petitioned Yvan Mainini

This petition was delivered to:

FIBA - International Basketball Federation
Yvan Mainini
FIBA - International Basketball Federation
Horacio Muratore

Remove ban on wearing head scarf during competition

    1. Indira Kaljo
    2. Petition by

      Indira Kaljo

      Arcata, CA

September 2014


Great news! On September 16, FIBA's Central Board announced a two-year testing period to review the head cover rule. This decision paves the way for more players worldwide to play in FIBA-organized competition!

Soon, national basketball federations can apply to be exempt from the ban so players can play with head covering! FIBA plans to review the trial results in 2015 and determine whether the ban could be dropped altogether in international competition in 2016. I am confident that the two-year testing period will eventually show FIBA that its long-standing safety concerns are no longer valid -- just as FIFA learned earlier this year.

I am so thankful for all of the support of my petition! I am also grateful to RPS Kohli, who started a similar petition in India, for his amazing efforts in this cause. I feel like, together with you, we played a critical role in putting pressure on FIBA to make this decision. I look forward to trying to play professional basketball again with my faith celebrated, not compromised!

Hi, everyone! My name is Indira Kaljo, and I am a 26-year-old professional basketball player. I started playing basketball in America at the age of nine. My love for the game has allowed me the chance to get an education at Tulane University and to play professional basketball overseas.

I recently decided to wear a hijab full-time because I am so profoundly in touch with my faith at this point in my life. Unfortunately, I became very disheartened after learning that the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) bans the usage of head covering during competition.

I worked my entire life - and overcame incredible odds - to pursue my dream of playing professional basketball. Now FIBA says that I have to choose between my dream and my faith. I find this policy can easily be changed for both sides to win, and I started this petition to ask FIBA to remove its ban of headgear during games.

Article 4.4.2 of FIBA's rule book states that “Players shall not wear equipment [objects] that may cause injury to other players.” FIBA says that this rule is in place for player safety reasons, but where is the evidence of these claims? FIFA had a two-year provisional period allowing for head covering in 2012 to assess the safety of wearing the head covering during play. The provisional period proved the safety risk low so FIFA ended its ban altogether in March. I'm asking FIBA to follow FIFA's lead here.

I have witnessed sport’s awesome power to transcend barriers, but FIBA wants to keep them up in this case. If I’m not allowed to wear a hijab, why are some players allowed to display tattoos of their faiths without discrepancy? There are many talented players worldwide who have been unfairly denied the right to play in any FIBA competition, inlcuding Hijab, Turban and Yarmulke wearing individuals. They’re also being denied employment opportunities. Take my friend Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, the first female basketball player in NCAA history to wear a hijab. She’s an outstanding player, but she may never play basketball overseas due to this rule.

I am asking you to sign this petition today to demand FIBA to change its ban on head covering. Your signature will help us greatly that, God-willing, FIBA will change its rule so all players around the world will be given an equal opportunity to play professional basketball overseas and to represent their country in competition! 

Yvan Mainini, FIBA - International Basketball Federation
Horacio Muratore, FIBA - International Basketball Federation
Remove the ban on wearing head scarf during competition so all players around the world can compete - other organizations have made changes to their rules to allow this, and it is time you did too.

[Your name]

Recent signatures


    1. Hey all!

      Indira Kaljo
      Petition Organizer

      Tomorrow, September 13, FIBA's new Central Board members will meet in Spain for the first time. This is the entity responsible for the making the decision regarding the head cover rule.

      Article 4.4.2 -- the rule in question -- states that “Players shall not wear equipment [objects] that may cause injury to other players.” However, we have yet to see FIBA offer any evidence of these safety justifications to date.

      I've joined forces with RPS Kohli, who started a petition in India asking for this rule change after watching two Sikh basketball players be humiliated for wearing a turban a few months ago. We are working tirelessly on proving our stance: hijabs, turbans and yarmulkes (all different types of head coverings) do not increase risk of injuries in competition.

      Will you keep spreading the word about the petitions and keep putting pressure on FIBA to change its rule?

      Post a message on Facebook for your friends:

      Share a tweet with your followers:

      Thank YOU for all your support! We won't stop until we are victorious and ALL basketball players who want to wear head covering are allowed to play in FIBA competitions!!

    2. Reached 4,000 signatures
    3. Update from FIBA

      Indira Kaljo
      Petition Organizer

      Hey Everyone!

      I hope you enjoyed your weekend.

      FIBA has not made an official decision regarding changing the ban on head scarfs. They will meet once again to decide regarding this matter. We are trying to push FIBA to make a decision on September 11!

      Please keep pushing and talking about this matter until it is resolved.
      With your help- anything is possible!

      Check out the latest article:

      All the best,

      Muslim Basketball Player Speaks Out Against International Federation's Ban On Religious Headwear

      by Posted on " Muslim Basketball Player Speaks Out Against International Federation's Ban On Religious Headwear" Share: CREDIT: AP The International Basketball Association's ban on religious headwear like turbans, hijabs, and yarmulkes worn by some Sikh, Muslim, and Jewish basketball players is an "extremely disrespectful" way of forcing players to choose between their favorite sport and their religion, one of the Muslim women fighting to overturn the ban told ThinkProgress this week.

    4. 2 more days till FIBA committee makes decision!

      Indira Kaljo
      Petition Organizer

      Hey supporters!

      Only two days till FIBA meets to make decision if they will change the ban!

      Thank you all for the support so far. Please share and tell your friends about signing this petition in these last two days!

      A strong push would be great.

      Here is a great piece:



      FIBA 'Headgear' Ban: Bosnian basketball pro Indira Kaljo fights for the right to play

      By Hyacinth Mascarenhas What would you do if you were forced to choose between your dream and your faith? Formerly a high school star in Van Nuys, Calif., a JUCO All-American at Ventura College and an award-winning contributor at Tulane University, Bosnian native and California-resident Indira Kaljo played professional basketball for two years in Europe and is currently seeking a contract there.

    5. Only 16 days away from the decision!

      Indira Kaljo
      Petition Organizer

      From all over the world..(USA, Bosnia, France, Senegal, Ireland, Morocco, United Kingdom, Norway and many more countries) your words are heard. Thank you so much for your support- for your very passionate, hilarious, yet humbling reasons why you signed the petition! Even though I may never be able to say thank you face to face... I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support. In 16 days @fiba will decide whether to change this rule or not! Let's keep sharing and signing so our voices are heard! As one of you said, this is bigger than basketball and I'm blessed to be a part of this movement. P.S. google translation did not do justice to your native words, I'm sure.
      #fibaALLOwhijab #inshaAllah #alhamdulilaah #sign #share #tweet

      Read the two articles written by Slam Online regarding this!

      FIBA to Review Headgear Ban in August

      Article 4.4.2 of FIBA's Official Basketball Rules states, "Players shall not wear equipment (objects) that may cause injury to other players." This rule keeps players who wear turbans, yarmulkes and hijab, like Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir and Indira Kaljo, off the court in leagues and tournaments affiliated with the organization.

    6. Reached 3,000 signatures
    7. We have Progress! FIBA to meet to about changing the rules on head gear!

      Indira Kaljo
      Petition Organizer

      HEYYY Everyone!

      I want to personally thank each person who has signed and shared this petition!! THANK YOU. Please continue to do so on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

      Just wanted to update you with some great news! The US Olympic Committee (upon the request of CAIR) has backed our campaign and has asked FIBA to change their rules.

      FIBA has officially announced that on August 27th, the FIBA board will meet in Sevilla. The body's 214 member federations will hold a two-day congress where the headgear issue will be discussed. If you want to read more, you can do so with the link below.

      We would love to have as many signatures on this petition so that FIBA can see many people around the rule want this change to happen- so let's keep the movement going!

      Best wishes,

      FIBA to review 'discriminatory' ban on headgear

      Facing claims that Muslim and Sikh players are being discriminated against, basketball's governing body will review its ban which prevents players wearing headgear for religious reasons. FIBA said Friday that its policy-making board will review the issue at an Aug. 27 meeting in Sevilla, Spain, ahead of the World Cup.

    8. Reached 2,000 signatures
    9. Almost 1,800 signatures & counting!!

      Indira Kaljo
      Petition Organizer

      Hey Everyone!

      Just wanted to update you and let you know we are at 1,800 signatures! Thank you so much for your support and please continue to share this petition!

      Wish you all the best :)


    10. Reached 1,500 signatures
    11. 700 signatures and going

      Indira Kaljo
      Petition Organizer

      hey everyone,

      thank you all for the support and the amazing comments... some of them made me laugh and i agree with you.. please continue to share on your facebook, twitter, instagram, everywhere and use the hashtag fibaallowhijab... again, from the bottom of my heart- thanks for the support... let's keep going until fiba changes their rules. peace and blessings.

    12. Reached 500 signatures


    Reasons for signing

      • about 1 month ago

      This is a perfect example of what we call "chickensh,,t" in the military… Wish here was an emoticon to express one's shaking of one's head in disbelief, sarcasm and sadness all rolled in one… Let the lady and all those barred from playing for similarly silly, petty, rules, follow their dreams… So, I can walk the aisles at Walmart with my M4 carbine slung over my shoulder but I can't step onto a basketball court with a yarmulke or a turban on my head? Find what's wrong with this picture.....

    • Matthew Cherico CLIFTON, NJ
      • about 1 month ago

      Displaying one's faith should not be against any rules in basketball. Wearing an article such a Hijab does not restrict the player wearing it and poses no harm to other players. Athletes such as Indira Kaljo should- and must- be permitted to wear a Hijab, Turban, and Yarmulke so they can play the game they love without sacrificing their religious rights. Please right this injustice and allow people of all backgrounds and religions to pursue their love of basketball.

    • Sabeen Shamsi NAPERVILLE, IL
      • about 1 month ago

      It lets girls be athletes without being sexual objectified.

    • Sarah Flautt LOUISVILLE, KY
      • about 1 month ago

      I'm signing because everyone has a right to play regardless of what they wear on their head. There is no more risk in wearing hajaib than there is having tattoos or earrings

      • about 1 month ago

      This is wrong not being able to wear your faith unbelievable


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