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Jun 05 2007

Sweden: Krav Maga Islamic Head Scarf Discrimination Charges

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — entry @ 22:22PM

An Islamic woman has filed a discrimination charge against a Self-Defense School in Sweden. During a training session at the Krav Maga Academy in Gothenburg, Sweden, an Islamic woman was asked to remove her head scarf during the Krav Maga class. The women has stated to Swedish authorities that she felt humiliated.

The chairman of the Club, Tommy Blom, said it was a matter of safety that the woman was asked to remove her head scarf. If the scarf is caught by someones fingers or hand she could have been injured. According to the Club nobody is allowed to wear anything on their head.

The Ombudsman for ethnic discrimination has asked for a formal statement from the club before they make a decision to investigate the matter further.

Religious freedom is important. Everyone should be free to live their lives according to their own will and desire. That said, it is unreasonable to pursue ones life and expect all others in society to bend over backwards to satisfy your whims, desires or even your faith.

If you are invited to a party where a bunch of freaks are having a vegetarian dinner it is unreasonable to complain all night about the meal or even worse insist that they provide you with a separate plate with meat on it. In this case in Gothenburg with the Krav Maga self-defense class, it appears to me that this was just a basic safety issue and possibly even an insurance and liability issue.

There are all kinds of stories circling the Internet about Islamic Head Scarves. Some people claim that many Islamic women are told they must wear them. Some people believe that a head scarf is a way for Islam to repress women. In some families or even countries this may in fact be true. However, all women who wear head scarves do not do so because they are forced to do so. Some Islamic women that wear head scarves do so by choice. I have no idea what the percentage might be one way or the other. I couldn’t really give a proper definition or explanation on head scarves and burqas. I do see some issues where there are culture clashes, and real issues regarding the religious practice of wearing head scarves and burqas. One of the most obvious is that of security. The concealment of ones identity with a burqa can at times be irreconcilable. People should not however be suspicious of everyone that wears a burqa or head scarf. A person wearing a burqa should not be equivocated with a bandit wearing a ski mask, although there was a case in the UK where a 6 foot man in a Burka committed a robbery. Here is another case that is on the extreme side.

Sultaana Lakiana Myke Freeman is a female Muslim resident of the state of Florida, United States. She gained media attention when she sued the state of Florida in order to wear a face veil for her driver’s license picture.

Born in Washington, D.C. in 1967, she later attended school in Effingham, Illinois and was legally Sandra Keller. In 1985, she enrolled at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, and graduated in 1989 with a degree in Commercial Music and a Business Administration minor. Later in 1989, she began employment at a utility company which lasted for a ten year period, in which she was an engineering assistant.Freeman converted to Islam in January 1997, initially only wearing the headscarf, but donning the full face veil (niqab) by the end of the year. In December 1997, she obtained an Illinois driver’s license with the veil, to reflect her new outside appearance and faith.In 1998, she was arrested in Decatur on charges that she committed battery of one of her foster children, and her foster children were removed. Freeman eventually plead guilty and served 18 months of probation. Freeman was veiled when she was photographed by police for her mug shot, but she was forced to take a second picture without the veil.

Krav Maga Training Techniques

Krav Maga shares many techniques with other martial arts, such as Boxing, Savate and Muay Thai (for the punches, kicks, elbows, and knees) or Jujutsu, Judo and Wrestling (for the grappling and disarming techniques), the training is often quite different. It stresses fighting under worst-case conditions or from disadvantaged positions (for example, against several opponents, when protecting someone else, with one arm unusable, when dizzy, or against armed opponents).

Training in Krav Maga is a mixed aerobic and anaerobic workout, and relies heavily on pads. Students take turns holding pads and doing combatives against the pads. This is important because it allows the student to practice the technique at full strength, and the student holding the pad learns a little of the impact they’d feel when they get hit. It can be almost as taxing to hold a pad as to practice against one. Some schools incorporate “Strike and Fight,” which consists of full-contact sparring intended to familiarize the student with the stresses of a violent situation.

Training may employ a speaker system blasting loud music, stroboscope and/or fog machine, meant to train the student to ignore peripheral distractions and focus on causing as much damage as possible. Training might also contain ways to deal with situations which could end in fights. Physical and verbal methods to avoid violence whenever possible are taught.

A typical Krav Maga session in a civilian school is about an hour long and mixes conditioning with self-defense teaching. As levels increase, the instructors focus a little more on complicated and less common types of attacks, such as knife attacks, hostage situations and defense under extreme duress. First, the instructor will run a very intense drill to get the class’s heart rates up. Then, after stretching, the instructor will teach two or three self-defense techniques. In the beginning the techniques will either be combatives (punches, hammer-fists, elbows, knees and roundhouse kicks, for example) or grappling (breaking out of chokes or wrist-grabs, getting out from under an opponent while on one’s back). After that, the class usually moves to a drill that combines the techniques just taught with an aerobic technique. Finally, there is the final drill intended to burn out the students. Depending on the class – and on the instructor’s mood – this drill may be at the very beginning or at the end of the class.

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Förening anmäld för etnisk diskriminering

Kvinnan uppmanades ta av sig sin slöja under träningspasset och kände sig kränkt av händelsen. Föreningen hon tränade vid hävdar däremot att det handlar om en allmän säkerhetsrisk vid träningen.


Det var i slutet av januari i år som kvinnan under ett träningspass vid självförsvarsklubben Krav Maga Academy i Göteborg fick avbryta sin träning eftersom hon inte ville ta av sig sin slöja. Hon har nu anmält händelsen till ombudsmannen mot etnisk diskriminering.

Enligt kvinnans anmälan kände hon sig kränkt av behandlingen då hon uppmanades ta av sig sin slöja framför de andra deltagarna. Hon kan inte heller se några problem med att hon bar slöja under träningen. Vid självförsvarsklubben menar man däremot att det inte hade något med diskriminering att göra. Enligt dem tillåts inga huvudbonader under deras civila träning vare sig det är keps eller slöja.
– Det är en säkerhetsfrÃ¥ga. Fastnar man med ett finger eller liknande och rycker till sÃ¥ kan det bli skador, säger klubbens ordförande Tommy Blom.

Ombudsmannen mot etnisk diskriminering har begärt yttrande utav föreningen innan något beslut i frågan kan tas. http://www.gp.se/gp/jsp/Crosslink.jsp?d=113&a=350041

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