A pupil athlete sparks nationwide change after being disqualified from a volleyball match for sporting a hijab


The Nationwide Federation of State Excessive Faculty Associations (NFHS), which units competitors guidelines for many American highschool sports activities, introduced the brand new rule on Thursday and mentioned it might apply to different sports activities as effectively.

Help for the rule change elevated in September after a freshman Najah Aqueel was disqualified from a volleyball match for sporting a hijab or headband at Valor Collegiate Prep in Nashville, Tennessee.

A referee refused to play it, citing a casebook rule that required hijab-wearing athletes to be given authorization from the Tennessee Secondary Faculty Athletic Affiliation (TSSAA). Najah mentioned he did not have authority, however that wasn’t a difficulty for earlier matches.

Confronted with the choice of eradicating her hijab or sitting out of the match, Najah selected to not play. Most Muslim girls who put on the hijab solely take away it within the presence of different girls or relations.

“I am actually humbled and completely satisfied that I had the chance to alter the principles for volleyball gamers throughout the nation,” Najah advised CNN. “I hope this can make sure that nobody else sporting a spiritual cap and taking part in the game must undergo what I did.”

change guidelines

On the time of the incident, Najah mentioned she was “indignant and unhappy” and felt alone for her non secular beliefs.

NFHS Volleyball Guidelines 4-1-6 states: “Hair units made of sentimental supplies and no more than 3 inches vast could also be worn in or on the pinnacle of hair. …” as a result of the najah’s hijab is way more than the appropriate 3 inches. was large. , he wanted the approval of the state affiliation to play.

Najah and her household have labored with TSSAA, NFHS and the American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) to alter the principles.

In October, the NFHS authorized every sporting guidelines committee’s proposal to be thought-about, which might enable gamers to put on non secular head coverings – until thought-about a security danger to the wearer or different members – from state federations. with out prior approval.

Najah Aqeel, Kendra, and her parents.

The Volleyball Committee was scheduled to satisfy for the primary time in 2021 and instantly authorized the proposal.

“To the committee that wasn’t too mind-blowing,” committee chairman Joe Auch mentioned in an announcement. “Our objective has at all times been for our athletes to have the ability to take part so long as there isn’t a security concern concerned, so it’s proper to loosen up that rule and take away the necessity for states to authorize the sporting of spiritual headwear.” Understood.”

Different sports activities guidelines committees can even contemplate the proposal. If adopted by all, it will have an effect on most American highschool sports activities.

NFHS Government Director Karissa Nihoff mentioned in an announcement: “Najah and her household have been type and affected person all through the vital course of; from exploring, to listening to one another, to studying and in the end to choice making on the state and nationwide degree. For.”

“Najah’s perspective, maturity and talent to speak outline her as a mannequin for younger individuals all over the place. We hope her place is a reminder of the attractive cloth of range that permeates our colleges and society as a complete. verily exists.”

victory for non secular freedom

Sabina Mohyuddin, government director of the American Muslim Advisory Council, known as the rule change a victory for non secular freedom.

This Muslim basketball player refuses to take off the hijab, doors open for athletes of all religions

“The NFHS choice is a momentous event and sends a transparent message that Muslim women who select to put on the hijab don’t want permission to be Muslim in public locations,” Mohiuddin advised CNN.

“We are going to proceed to defy any coverage that discriminates towards our neighborhood. Najah is really a pioneer. I like her braveness and dedication to face up for her equal entry to sports activities all through this course of.”

The rule change can even have an effect on pupil athletes of different religions, together with kippa-wearing Jews and turban-wearing Sikhs.

Najah hopes her stand will encourage pupil athletes of all faiths and backgrounds to proceed advocating for equality in sport.

“If there is a message I may give to everybody on the earth, do not be afraid to comply with your goals,” Najah mentioned. “By no means be afraid to face up for what you imagine in.”


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