This article is from the Guardian:
'We won't wear hijabs': Chess queens threaten to boycott world championships in Iran after being told they MUST wear Islamic headscarfs
- Female chess players will have to wear hijab at a 2017 tournament in Iran
US champion Nazi Paikidze threatened to pull out of the games in Tehran
Pan American champion Carla Heredia also voiced her anger at the move
All women in Iran must wear hijab if not they will face arrest or punishment
Top women chess players are threatening to boycott the world championship in Iran because they will be forced to wear hijabs.
Female Grandmasters will risk arrest if they do not cover up to compete in the strict Middle Eastern country due to host the knock-out tournament next year.
The World Chess Federation, known by its French acronym Fide, has now been accused of failing to stand up for women’s rights after telling players to accept the laws and respect ‘cultural differences’, The Telegraph reported.
US women's champion Nazi Paikidze said: ‘It is absolutely unacceptable to host one of the most important women's tournaments in a venue where, to this day, women are forced to cover up with a hijab.
‘I understand and respect cultural differences. But, failing to comply can lead to imprisonment and women's rights are being severely restricted in general. It does not feel safe for women from around the world to play here.’
She added: ‘If the situation remains unchanged, I will most certainly not participate in this event.’
The headscarves have been mandatory for women in Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. The strict regulation is enforced by the country’s ‘morality police’ and any woman found not wearing one in public faces arrest, a fine or public reprimand.
The UK government warns women travelling to Iran of the ‘strictly enforced’ dress code and says ladies must cover their heads with a scarf in public and wear trousers or long skirts.
Former Pan American champion Carla Heredia, from Ecuador, added: ‘No institution, no government, nor a Women's World Chess Championship should force women to wear or to take out a hijab.
‘This violates all what sports means. Sport should be free of discrimination by sex, religion and sexual orientation.’
American Grandmaster Susan Polgar, chairman of Fide's Commission for Women's Chess, has said the players need to respect ‘cultural differences’.
She said: ‘When I visited different places with different cultures, I like to show my respect by dressing up in their traditional style of clothing. No one asked me to do it. I just do it out of respect.
‘I personally would have no issues with wearing a head scarf (hijab) as long as it is the same to all players.
‘I cannot speak on behalf of others but from my personal conversations with various players in the past year, they had no real issues with it.’
Fide did not respond to a request for comment from the Daily Mail.