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AFL

AFLW player Haneen Zreika opts out of Pride Round over her religious beliefs

Max Sherry

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| Last updated 

AFLW player Haneen Zreika opts out of Pride Round over her religious beliefs

An AFLW player has announced she is opting out of the competition's upcoming Pride Round, citing her religion.

Haneen Zreika, who is a practising Muslim, has previously voiced her concerns with wearing the team’s rainbow pride jersey due to her beliefs.

Now the GWS Giants star - who is also the AFLW's first ever Islamic player - is choosing to sit out of Pride Round altogether, according to the Daily Telegraph.

“As the first Australian Muslim woman in the AFLW, I have a responsibility to represent my faith and my community,” Zreika wrote in a statement in January.

“I respect people regardless of their sexual orientation.

“This decision was extremely difficult and I appreciate the support of the AFL, Giants and my teammates.

“Inclusion is about creating a space where people are able to respect their right to choose how they live their life as long as they don’t advocate hate and division.”

It's understood Zreika's club are still planning on donning the LGBTQIA+ jersey in their Round 8 clash against Hawthorn.

As for Zreika herself, she has previously opened up on the time where the AFL seemingly forced her into wearing a Pride jersey, despite initially thinking both parties had found a common ground.

“I’ve always participated in Pride round but never wore the socks or the warm-up shirt,” Zreika said in the Fearless: The Inside Story of the AFLW documentary.

“Coming into this, I never thought it would be an issue.

“I didn’t want to make a big deal of it, until the AFL rejected me from wearing a normal jersey. That was a shock to me. I love what the AFL do and the way they include everyone, but you can’t have a round where you include people but exclude someone that it impacts their faith.

“I really feel like an outsider, like, ‘no mate, you’re not part of us’.

“I always respect everyone, no matter what they are or where they come from.

“But obviously I take my religion seriously.”

Earlier this year, NRL side the Manly Sea Eagles became embroiled in an huge off-field saga when several players were threatening to boycott their side's upcoming match because they didn't want to wear their club's rainbow 'Everyone in League' strip.

Similar to Zreika, though, those players also cited their religious beliefs as the reason for their stance.

The entire ordeal went on to make headlines around the world with rugby league fans and pundits alike having an opinion on it.

Meanwhile, the players themselves were subsequently stood down on religious grounds for one game.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/haneenzreika__

Topics: Australia, Aussie Rules Football, Australia Afl

Max Sherry
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