The headscarf debate in Denmark continues.
Zenab El-Khatib (15) was recently chosen for the Danish football national team for youth. She had received permission from the DBU (Danish Football Association) to wear a specially prepared headscarf during tournaments.
She says that if she wouldn't have been allowed to do so, she would have been frustrated and upset by it, but that it wouldn't have brought her to take it off.
Zenab and her sisters were born in Denmark, her older brothers were born in Lebanon. She now lives in Odense and goes to 8th grade at Rising school. She hadn't played in a club till two years ago, but now she's playing as forward both for 1909/Fjordager IF and for the national team, and trains three times a week. More if she's up to it.
She says most think it's tough. Some who are very religious think it's wrong, and that Muslim girls shouldn't do that. But Zenab doesn't let other people's opinion influence her and she says her parents back her 100%.
She's been wearing a headscarf for the past year, when she felt ready to do so. She says a headscarf is not something people put on and take off, and that it was a big decision for her. She worried what others will say, but nobody said anything, and treated her as before.
It was obvious to her that she couldn't wear a traditional headscarf on the field and so she went with her mother to a seamstress to make a special headscarf. She says it's made of very thing material, so she doesn't get too hot. The headscarf doesn't cover her neck and there's no danger that it will get tangled up during play.
She was top scorer for her team last year, but she has ambitions for more. She's considering switching clubs next year, since she'd like to have more challenges and she thinks training will be harder and more serious.
She wants to get to the adult national team, as she's seen them play and thinks they play fantastic. Her dreams for the future are clear: she dreams of being a doctor since she's been six.
Meanwhile, BDU waits for a decision from UEFA and FIFA. Lars Berendt, spokesperson for DBU says that there are three issues here: One, FIFA doesn't accept religious messages on the field. Two, players can only wear a uniform and there's no rule about headscarves. Lastly there's the safety aspect, that the headscarf might get tangled up.
Sources: Fyens 1, 2 (Danish)