July 19, 2014 (New York, NY) - One week ago today, just moments before 6-foot-11 Amrit Pal Singh and 6-foot-8 Amjyot Singh were set to play international basketball at the Asia Cup, referees told them they would either have to remove their turbans or be banned from playing.
To date, International Basketball Federation (FIBA) officials insist that the turbans of Amrit Pal Singh and Amjyot Singh are "dangerous" objects that "may cause injury" to other players. Their ban on Sikh turbans and Muslim hijabs continues. This ruling is especially surprising given that FIFA allows Sikhs to play with turbans, and that Sikhs have played competitive basketball with their turbans in the NBL Canada (Dipanjot Singh) and NCAA (Darsh Preet Singh).
Yesterday, the Sikh Coalition sent an official letter to FIBA's leadership urging them to change their policy and allow Sikhs to play with their turbans. The letter includes examples of Sikh athletes from around the world who play competitive sports with their turbans. Click here to see the exhibit.
Join the #LetSikhsPlay Movement
A growing social media campaign called #LetSikhsPlay, begun by the Sikh Coalition and SALDEF is bringing Sikhs and basketball enthusiasts alike together to push FIBA to end its irrational ban on the Sikh turban.
Today, we call on Sikhs globally to send messages on Twitter using the hashtag #LetSikhsPlay. FIBA should see that people all over the world believe that sports should bring people together, not keep them apart.
Please do your part and send a message to FIBA using #LetSikhsPlay. Let's all work to break another barrier for our community.
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges Sikhs everywhere to practice their faith fearlessly.