October 21, 2014 -- Updated 4:10 pm GMT

Jordan’s Prince Ali Urges FIFA to Lift Ban on Hijabs

Posted in: Jordan

Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al Hussein is calling for the ruling body of football/soccer to lift its ban on hijabs, the headscarf Muslim women wear to protect their modesty. The Prince, who is the vice-president of FIFA, is in Bagshot, west of London, for an International Football Association Board (IFAB) meeting where talk of allowing female football players to wear the hijab is going on.

Prince Ali FIFA 300x209 Jordans Prince Ali Urges FIFA to Lift Ban on Hijabs

Click here to read more at Inside the Games

He told Reuters back in February that “we need to give the right to (play) to everyone across the world and we have to respect each others cultures.”

“It’s an issue which will not go away,” Ali said according to InsidetheGames.biz. “Everyone from the United Nations to the regional federations are supportive so I don’t see what the problem is.”

Since 2007,  FIFA has banned the hijab because it sees it as a safety hazard. But the Prince, who is the younger brother of King Abdullah II and Jordanian-born Princess Haya of Dubai, says a Dutch-designed tear-away headscarf with a Velcro opening could be used to cease strangulation fears.

In order for the lift to go through, six of the eight members of IFAB have to agree on it. The committee is made of representatives from each British association — England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales — and four FIFA officials.

There have been cases of female football players not being able to advance in matches because they refused to play without their hijabs. For example, the Iranian team were told to wear caps and turtlenecks during the 2010 Youth Games in place of the headscarf, but were forfeited qualification to the 2012 Olympics because they did not remove their turtlenecks.

“This is not an issue of religious symbolism, it is simple a case of cultural modesty,” Prince Ali insisted

Sources: NYTimes, InsidetheGames.biz, The Star (Canada)

Prince Harry Begins Jubilee Tour in Belize

Posted in: United Kingdom

Friday night saw Prince Harry begin his Caribbean tour as part of marking his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. The 27 year old Prince is visiting some parts of the Caribbean that are part of the Commonwealth, beginning with Belize. This tour marks his first official overseas visit.

Prince Harry Belize arrival 300x214 Prince Harry Begins Jubilee Tour in Belize

Click here for pics at Zimbio

Upon touchdown in Belmopan, His Royal Highness was greeted by Governor General Sir Coleville Young and Prime Minister, Dean Barrow. He then gave a speech saying he was sorry that the Queen was not there, and “you’re stuck with me”.

Harry then helped rename a street the HM Queen Elizabeth II Boulevard. Crowds cheered for him as he did so.

After all the formalities, it was time for some partying at a local street party. Prince Harry has a reputation of being into partying, so this seemed to fit right in with his image.

Changing into a a traditional Belize shirt, the Prince drank tropical rum drinks, ate the local cuisine, and took in a performance of a traditional Creole dance called a Brukdong Bram. One of the dancers even invited him to dance with them, though at first, Harry was hesitant.

“He’s a wonderful dancer, a real ten out of ten,” said bachelor girl Denese Enriquez, who is part of the country’s national dance company. “The other girls will be very star-struck that I got to dance with him.”

The next day had the Prince go to an art school along the Belize-Guatemalan border, which is run by the Organization of American States. He also visited a project aimed a building a bridge between the two countries, which until recently had some cold relations. Guatemala only recognized Belize as an independent country in 1994, thirteen years after it got its independence from the United Kingdom.

Prince Harry Belize dancer 231x300 Prince Harry Begins Jubilee Tour in Belize

Click here for more pics at Daylife

Harry even paid a visit to one of Belize’s major tourist attractions: Xunantunich, the Mayan temple ruin in Benque Viejo del Carmen. During this, he watched some traditional deer dancers and even received a Mayan passport marking his visit during the final year of the Mayan calendar.

Finally, Harry met with some British soldiers stationed in Belize and also laid a wreath at a monument to British soldiers killed while in service in Belize.

With that, he is now off to the next stop of his week long Jubilee tour on behalf of the Queen: the Bahamas. That would be followed by Jamaica on Monday before heading off to Brazil for business relations instead of Commonwealth reasons.

During his tour of Belize, Harry was welcomed with open arms and cheering crowds. But some Belizeans were a little confused on how to address him. The Mayor of Belmopan, Simeon Lopez, called him “The Prince of Wales” and addressed him as “Your Majesty”.

Even so, the monarchy is popular in Belize and there is no call to remove Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.

Sources: Telegraph, USA Today