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Sign Petition against female chess players being forced to wear a hijab at upcoming tournament in Iran

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From the Daily Tip, Oct. 10, 2016

Iran is forcing women to cover their hair at the next world chess championship—and the reigning U.S. Women’s Chess Champion is circulating a petition in protest. She is just over 300 signatures short of her 15,000 goal.The petition calls on the World Chess Federation (FIDE)—which “rejects discriminatory treatment for national, political, racial, social or religious reasons or on account of sex” in its handbook—to reconsider its choice of Iran as tournament host. Leading women’s chess player Nazi Paikidze-Barnes, 22, authored the document and declared she will be boycotting the contest “even if it means missing one of the most important competitions of my career.”

“Some consider a hijab part of culture,” Paikidze said in an Instagram post announcing her decision. “But, I know that a lot of Iranian women are bravely protesting this forced law daily and risking a lot by doing so. That’s why I will NOT wear a hijab and support women’s oppression.”

She has been harshly criticized by prominent officials involved with the chess federation and by Iranian media outlets, and more recently has been the target of op-eds in several prominent news outlets. Muslim women’s rights activists in turn criticized the op-eds, with former Wall Street Journal reporter Asra Q. Nomani describing one as “tragic because it uses women to tell other women to shut up.” Nomani ran anop-ed against “Iran’s hijab fetish” in The Washington Post last week.

Nomani previously challenged the women’s head covering in anotherWashington Post piece alongside Arab female journalist Hala Arafa: “To us, the ‘hijab’ is a symbol of an interpretation of Islam we reject that believes that women are a sexual distraction to men, who are weak, and thus must not be tempted by the sight of our hair. We don’t buy it. This ideology promotes a social attitude that absolves men of sexually harassing women and puts the onus on the victim to protect herself by covering up.

The new Muslim Reform Movement, a global network of leaders, advocating for human rights, peace and secular governance, supports the right of Muslim women to wear — or not wear — the headscarf.”

Click here to sing petition

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