NCCM comments on Brampton soccer case

-For Immediate Release-

(Ottawa – May 29, 2015) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent Muslim civil liberties advocacy organization, is issuing a statement regarding a recent media story regarding a soccer tournament in Brampton, Ontario.

A private Islamic high school soccer team refused to play with a team comprising of two female players.  The coach cited the team’s commitment to upholding a religious belief that members of the opposite sex should not come into physical contact.

“Like our fellow Canadians of other faith traditions, Canadian Muslims comprise of diverse communities.  This spectrum of diversity also extends to how different members choose to interpret religious doctrine and manifest their faith. Some interpretations include the belief that there should be limited to no physical contact with unrelated members of the opposite gender, including during contact sports like soccer. That is the core issue at play,” says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.

“This restraint is considered by some Canadian Muslims to be an expression of personal modesty and is not meant to be regarded as a personal insult or affront.

“The Ontario Human Rights Commission calls for a balancing of competing rights to ensure that everyone is free to participate in a way that is inclusive, respectful, and non-discriminatory in the spirit of our shared Canadian human rights and values,” says Gardee.

“From media reports, it appears the coach of the ISNA soccer team raised the issue respectfully and with the intent of finding an amicable and fair solution for everyone and did not seek to prevent female players from participating.  An offer to forfeit the game was also made but declined by the opposing team.

“Canadian Muslims contribute daily in helping strengthen Canada as a land of respect, equality, and diversity. Sports are a great way for people from different backgrounds to come together, get to know one another and to celebrate these cherished ideals. ”

The NCCM is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit grass roots advocacy organization. It is a leading voice for Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.

CONTACT: Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director, 613.254.9704 or 613.853.4111