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 after my family was forced to leave our home in war-torn Bosnia when my grandparents were murdered for being Muslim. My love for the game has allowed me the chance to get an education at Tulane University and to play professional basketball overseas.
Thus begins the petition launched by a star basketball player who’s unable to now compete because she’s chosen to wear a hijab in respect of her faith: Kaljo, a Bosnian native and LA resident, started her Change.org petition asking the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) to end its head covering ban so she can continue playing professional basketball.
Indira believes that the FIBA policy is costing her and many others employment opportunities and the chance to potentially play for their national teams.
Says Indira: “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 – a faith my grandparents died for. I find this policy to be incredibly discriminatory.”
FIBA is set to review this policy during a meeting on August 27 in Sevilla, Spain. FIFA allowed head covering for religious purposes during soccer matches in March after a two-year provisional period was instituted in 2012.
Indira’s petition is the latest in a series of Change.org petitions that have addressed women’s clothing in sports. Other victorious petitions include FIFA changing its head scarf ban, AIBA ending its rule on women boxers wearing skirts in competition, and the Iranian Swimming Federationrecognizing a swimmer’s records after her attire was initially deemed illegal.
You can check out Indira’s petition here: https://www.change.org/endbanfiba.