Press Releases

CAIR Welcomes Group’s Request for Waiver to Rule Banning Minn. Muslim Teen Boxer’s Hijab

CAIR logo(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/24/15) –- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed a decision by USA Boxing to request a waiver to an international association’s policy preventing a  Minnesota Muslim teenager from taking part in competition while wearing modest Islamic attire, including a head scarf, or hijab.

Following a request earlier this week by CAIR, USA Boxing now says it will request the waiver from the Switzerland-based International Boxing Association (AIBA) on behalf of 15-year-old Amaiya Zafar from Oakdale, Minn.

SEE: CAIR Asks Boxing Group, USOC to Allow Minnesota Muslim Teen to Compete Wearing Hijab


Zafar was seeking to compete for the first time in a USA Boxing-sanctioned event this Friday in Duluth, Minn. She wished to compete wearing hijab (in addition to protective head covering) and covering her arms and legs, but has been told such attire violates AIBA rules.

CAIR: Oakdale Girl Fights for Her Chance to Get in Boxing Ring (Star Tribune)   

CAIR: Muslim Teen Fighting to Box (Duluth News Tribune)

CAIR: Amaiya Zafar Wants to Box Competitively, and Modestly (MPR)

“We welcome USA Boxing’s request for a waiver to this discriminatory rule and hope it eventually leads to a permanent change in policy that allows athletes to compete while maintaining their religious principles,†said CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein.

Jaylani said CAIR will work with the family of the Muslim boxer, USA Boxing, the United States Olympic Committee, and the AIBA in seeking a permanent rule change allowing modest attire.

Last year, CAIR applauded a decision by the Switzerland-based International Basketball Federation (FIBA) to drop its ban on Islamic headscarves, or hijabs, worn by athletes.

CAIR Applauds FIBA Decision to Drop Basketball Hijab Ban

CAIR noted that FIFA’s International Football Association Board acknowledged the religious rights of soccer players by changing its rules to allow hijabs and Sikh turbans.

CAIR also 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.

Kulsoom Abdullah: Changing Policy    

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein, 612-206-3360,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,; CAIR Communications Coordinator Nabeelah Naeem, 202-341-4171,

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