The Florida office of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL) announced today that a female Muslim
athlete at the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa will be allowed
to wear an Islamic head scarf, or hijab, on the basketball court.
The 22-year-old Muslim convert left the USF basketball team and lost her
athletic scholarship last week after allegedly being told by her head coach
that she could not wear the religiously-mandated scarf during practices or
In a meeting today between the basketball player, university officials and
a representative of CAIR-FL, it was agreed that the team would accommodate
her Islamic attire and reinstate her scholarship. The university also
agreed to work with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) on
any issues related to existing headwear policies.
“We thank the University of South Florida for its swift and decisive action
in resolving this issue,” said CAIR-FL Communications Director Ahmed
Bedier, who took part in today’s meeting. “An athlete should not be asked
to choose between engaging in healthy sporting activities and her
deeply-held religious beliefs.”
Ahmed noted that the Prophet Muhammad himself recommended that children be
taught activities such as swimming, horseback riding and archery.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 28 regional
offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.
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