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Muslim Soccer Team Refuses to Play Team with Girls

A boys' soccer team from a private Muslim high school in Branotibm Ont., would not finish a game during a tournament after it discovered the opposing team had two girls on it.

During half time of the game during a Brampton tournament, the ISNA Private Islamic High School team brought its complaint against opposing Robert F. Hall Catholic School to a referee.

Robert F. Hall Catholic School does not have a girls’ team, so two female soccer players were allowed to join the boys’ team due to a gender rule commonly used by several high school athletic associations in the area, which states, “If a sport activity is not available for a female on a girls’ team, she is eligible to participate on a boys’ team following a successful tryout.”

The two girls insisted that they sit out the second half of the game so that it would continue, and Robert F. Hall Catholic School went on to win 6-1. However, both teams ended up advancing to the next round of the tournament, leading to the possibility of another matchup between the two teams. The board of the Region of Peel Secondary School Athletic Association (ROPSSAA), in which both teams play, will review the situation and make a ruling next week about how to go forward with the situation.

ROPSSAA said its rules are very clear on the issue, and Bruce Campbell of the Catholic School Board says that every team playing in the tournament should be familiar with the rules.

According to the coach of the ISNA High School soccer team, Essa Abdool-Karim, the team attempted to have an open dialogue with Robert F. Hall Catholic School in order to explain that this is one of its religious beliefs.

“Free mixing is generally something we do not do, more so out of respect than anything,” said Abdool-Karim.

Abdool-Karim anticipates that if ISNA High School has to play Robert F. Hall Catholic School again in the tournament, it will not participate in the game.

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