- Associated Press - Friday, June 10, 2011

JERUSALEM (AP) - European basketball’s governing body will not make an allowance on a uniform rule for an Israeli player’s religious observance in the upcoming women’s championship.

Despite appeals by Israel’s team for an exception in point guard Naama Shafir’s case, Munich-based FIBA Europe told The Associated Press on Friday that none would be made. Shafir is an Orthodox Jew who wears a T-shirt under her jersey in keeping with Jewish modesty rules.

The decision on Shafir is “final,” FIBA Europe spokesman Sakis Kontos said.

European basketball regulations say all players must wear the same uniform. Shafir has said she will not compromise her religious beliefs and play with bare shoulders.

“The global rules of the game clearly state that a team must be uniformly dressed, and the rules must always be upheld,” Kontos said.

The New York-based Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish organization that fights discrimination, criticized the decision. Shafir’s T-shirt does not interfere with the game, said the group’s director, Abraham Foxman.

“The unwillingness to accommodate a religious value is certainly insensitive and borders on prejudice,” Foxman said.

Unless it is overturned, the decision will bar the 21-year-old Shafir from competing when the championship begins in Poland on June 18.

Shafir has pointed out that officials from the NCAA, where she has competed for Toledo since 2008, have allowed her play with a T-shirt. Her college team also has made sure Shafir doesn’t have to drive or practice on the Jewish Sabbath.

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