To most observers, nothing stood out about Dorsa Derakhshani last month when she competed at the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival. The 18-year-old female grand master fared fine on the board, twice using the Four Knights defense

…Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh didn’t have a problem with Derakhshani’s play, but her headwear. Derakhshani wore a simple headband in her long hair, instead of a hijab, Iran’s traditional headscarf, which became a compulsory accessory for women after the 1979 revolution. As a result, Pahlevanzadeh announced on Monday that Derakhshani would be kicked off the national team.

Derakhshani’s younger brother Borna, 15, who also entered the tournament, was also kicked off the team. His offense was agreeing to play an Israeli opponent, a strict no-no in the country that doesn’t recognize Israel as a state.

…That the two young chess masters received such a harsh punishment is not a surprise. Sports in Iran and other parts of the Middle East have long been affected by the region’s strict cultural norms and precarious political stance.

washingtonpost.com

Nazi Paikidze

American chess master Nazi Paikidze

Last year, American chess master Nazi Paikidze did not compete in the chess world championships in Iran because of the country’s requirement that she don a hijab.

“Some consider a hijab part of culture,” Paikidze said in an Instagram post announcing her decision. “But, I know that a lot of Iranian women are bravely protesting this forced law daily and risking a lot by doing so. That’s why I will NOT wear a hijab and support women’s oppression.”

-washingtonpost.com

Ursula von der Leyen

Ursula von der Leyen wore a suit when she was received by the Vice Regent and Defence Minister of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman Al-Saud, in the Divan Palace

A German minister has refused to wear a hijab during a visit to Saudi Arabia – saying women should have the same right to choose their clothing as men.

Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen’s stand came a week after Chancellor Angela Merkel called for the burka to be banned.

Von der Leyen was in Saudi capital Riyadh to meet deputy crown prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, where she voiced her annoyance at the expectation that women cover up.

But it sparked anger in the deeply-conservative state, where social media users called for her to be arrested.

The German minister voiced her annoyance at the expectation that women should wear traditional clothing when visiting the country

The German minister shunned traditional Saudi attire, opting instead for a dark blue suit when she met her counterpart at the Divan Palace in the country’s capital.

One Twitter user wrote: ‘Ok so why didn’t they arrest her? The hypocrisy and double standards.’

Another posted: ‘The German Defense Minister: Not wearing the hijab in Saudi was deliberate. This is an insult to Saudi Arabia!’

Speaking of her refusal to wear full-length robes, known as the abaya, Das Bild reports, she said: ‘No woman in my delegation has to wear the abaya.

‘The right to choose your own clothing is a right shared by men and women alike. It annoys me, when women are to pushed into wearing the abaya.’
The newspaper reported that although servants looked ‘astonished’ at the sight of the German minister in traditional dress, it did not spark any protests.

All women in Saudi Arabia – local and foreign – are legally required to wear an abaya – which is a traditional full-body covering.

Muslim women must also wear a headscarf – or hijab – but foreigners do not need to.

…British Foreign Office guidelines state: ‘Women should observe the strict Saudi dress code and wear conservative and loose-fitting clothes, including a full-length cloak (abaya) and a keep a scarf with them in case they are asked to cover their head by the Hai’a, commonly known as Muttawa (Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice/Religious Police).

‘Men should not wear shorts in public or go without a shirt. Visitors should always seek guidance concerning acceptable clothing.’

…Merkel said she would back a nationwide ban just months after revealing that she believed the burka was a barrier to Muslim women becoming integrated into German society.
Angela Merkel stance on burqas: ‘they should be banned’

The woman, who has been identified as Malak Al Shehri, shared a photograph of herself without a hijab or abaya – a traditional body covering – in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

After her arrest, [ Malak Al Shehri] Saudis reacted with fury to her actions.

One message of abuse reportedly read: ‘The least punishment for her is beheading her.’

Another wrote: ‘Kill her and throw her body to the dogs’, while one said ‘we want blood’ after the picture went viral.
-dailymail.co.uk