Page last updated at 13:07 GMT, Thursday, 28 January 2010

Swiss court upholds basketball headscarf ban

A headscarf is not allowed in Swiss basketball for safety reasons

A Muslim woman has failed to overturn a ban stopping her from wearing a headscarf during league basketball matches in Switzerland.

Sura al-Shawk, 19, was told she could not wear a headscarf by the basketball association (ProBasket) in August 2009.

A local court in Lucerne has upheld the ruling on safety grounds. ProBasket also argued the sport needed to stay religiously neutral.

Ms al-Shawk can appeal again within 10 days.

Ms al-Shawk is a Swiss citizen with an Iraqi background and plays for STV Luzern.

The court ruled that the overall safety regulations set by the association took precedence over her desire to wear a headscarf for religious reasons, says the BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Switzerland.

But the court did admit that, in upholding the ban, it was placing limits on the young woman's personal freedom, our correspondent says.

The headscarf is not especially common in Switzerland, whose Muslim community comes primarily from former Yugoslavia. However, wearing it in public is largely accepted, she adds.

ProBasket said it followed the rules of FIBA, basketball's world governing body, in enforcing its ban.

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