Los Angeles (AFP) - Two US lawmakers have launched a campaign urging FIBA to reconsider their policy after two Sikh players were asked to remove their turbans during an international basketball match.
In a letter sent Tuesday to International Basketball Federation (FIBA) president Yvan Mainini, American Congress members and co-authors of the letter, Joe Crowley and Ami Bera, called the policy "discriminatory," stating the turban "is essential to their faith."
"We are concerned about recent reports indicating that Sikhs are not able to participate in International Basketball Federation (FIBA) games while wearing a turban, which is essential to their faith, and ask you to change this discriminatory policy," the letter stated.
"Basketball is a beloved team sport that has the ability to bring people of all backgrounds together, regardless of history, culture, language, and religion."
The move comes after India's Amritpal Singh and Amjyot Singh were asked to remove their turbans at the FIBA Asia Cup tournament last month in China.
The letter says the players were told their turbans violated FIBA's rules which states "Players shall not wear equipment that may cause injury to other players."
"There is no evidence showing that a turban has been dangerous during basketball games," the letter says and points to football's world governing body, FIFA, which permits players to wear turbans.
Crowley and Bera said they have the backing of two dozen other members of Congress. The lawmakers hope the Switzerland-based FIBA will change the policy when its board meets at the end of August.