Press Releases

CAIR-Michigan to Announce Civil Rights Complaint Against USA Boxing for Muslim Barred from Competition Over Beard

(FARMINGTON HILLS, MI, 9/05/2018) – On Thursday, September 13, the Michigan Chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) will hold a press conference to announce the filing of a Michigan Department of Civil Rights complaint against USA Boxing on behalf of a Michigan Muslim boxer barred from competition because of his beard he believes is required by his faith.

USA Boxing has utilized its own waiver system in a discriminatory way to keep the Muslim boxer from competing in local and national tournaments. The up-and-coming boxer was denied participation in the Golden Gloves Tournament because of his beard.  

USA Boxing has ignored several requests by CAIR-MI and the coach of the boxer to open a dialogue about the issue, prompting CAIR-MI to file a formal complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

WHAT: CAIR-MI Press Conference
WHO: CAIR-MI Staff Attorney Amy V. Doukoure, CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid and CAIR-MI Client
WHEN: Thursday, September 13, 2018 at 10:00 am
WHERE: CAIR-MI Farmington Hills Office, 30201 Orchard Lake Road, Suite 260, Farmington Hills, MI 48334
CONTACT: CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid, (248) 842-1418,; CAIR-MI Staff Attorney Amy V. Doukoure, (586) 943-8823

In 2014, CAIR helped a Muslim wrestler at the University at Buffalo in New York obtain a waiver from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to wear a beard.

SEE: CAIR Helps NY Muslim Wrestler Obtain NCAA Waiver for Beard

Last year, CAIR welcomed a religious exemption granted to a teenage Muslim boxer in Minnesota who was previously barred from competition because she wears an Islamic head scarf, or hijab.

SEE: CAIR Welcomes Religious Exemption Granted for Minnesota Teenage Muslim Boxer’s Hijab

Many athletic organizations have already modified rules and policies to account for the various religious needs of participants. For example, over the past few years, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) have all lifted their respective bans on religious headgear, including hijabs.  

In 2011, CAIR welcomed a decision by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) to modify its policy on competitor apparel to allow modest Islamic attire. The IWF policy change came following intervention by CAIR in the case of a Muslim weightlifter in Georgia who wished to compete while covering her hair, arms and legs.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.


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