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CAIR Welcomes AIBA Rule Change Allowing Female Boxers to Wear Hijab

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/12/19) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed a policy change by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) allowing female boxers to wear sport hijabs (Islamic head scarves).

[NOTE: The International Boxing Association (AIBA) is the worldwide governing body for the sport of boxing in all its forms.]

SEE: AIBA to allow female boxers to wear hijabs after uniform changes approved by Executive Committee

AIBA Executive Committee meeting highlights unity & progress in Istanbul

“We welcome this rule change as an affirmation that all athletes should be able to participate in the sport of their choice without being forced to violate their religious principles,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.

In 2016, CAIR called on the Switzerland-based association to grant a religious exemption to its uniform regulations so that a teenage Muslim boxer in Minnesota could wear her hijab.

SEE: CAIR Asks International Body to Allow Minnesota Teenage Muslim Boxer to Compete Wearing Hijab

Video: CAIR-MN Helps Muslim Teen Boxer Seeking to Compete Wearing Hijab

CAIR noted 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. 

SEE: CAIR Welcomes Implementation of New FIBA Policy Allowing Religious Headgear

Last year, CAIR’s Michigan chapter filed 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.

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

CAIR helped a Muslim wrestler at the University at Buffalo in New York obtain a waiver from the NCAA to wear a beard he believes is required by his faith.

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

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.         


CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,


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