You are currently viewing A scholar athlete sparked nationwide change after being disqualified from a volleyball match for carrying a hijab

A scholar athlete sparked nationwide change after being disqualified from a volleyball match for carrying a hijab

The Nationwide Federation of State Extreme School Associations (NFHS), which items rivals tips for many US highschool sports activities actions, announced on Thursday the model new rule and acknowledged it might lengthen to totally different sports activities actions.

Assist for the rule change swelled in September after Najah Aqeel, a freshman at Valor Collegiate Prep in Nashville, Tennessee, was disqualified from a volleyball match for carrying a hijab or scarf.

A referee refused to let her play, citing a casebook rule that required athletes who placed on a hijab to be granted authorization from the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Affiliation (TSSAA). Najah acknowledged she didn’t have authorization, nonetheless that it was not a drawback for earlier matches.

Confronted with the choice to remove her hijab or sit out the match, Najah decided to not play. Most Muslim women who placed on the hijab solely take away it inside the presence of various women or fast family members.

“I’m truly humbled and happy that I acquired to change the rule for volleyball avid gamers all through the nation,” Najah suggested KBN Info. “I hope this could make sure no one else who wears spiritual headwear and performs sports activities actions ought to bear what I did.”

Altering the rule

On the time of the incident, Najah acknowledged she was “offended and sad” and felt singled out for her spiritual beliefs.

NFHS Volleyball Rule 4-1-6 acknowledged: “Hair items product of sentimental supplies and less than 3 inches big is also worn inside the hair or on the highest. …” As a results of Najah’s hijab was a lot greater than the allowable 3 inches , she needed state affiliation approval to play.

Najah and her family have labored with the TSSAA, NFHS and American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) to change the rule.

In October, the NFHS permitted a proposal for each sport tips committee to ponder that may allow avid gamers to placed on spiritual head coverings – besides considered a safety risk to the wearer or totally different members – with out prior approval from state associations.

Najah Aqeel, center, and her parents.

The volleyball committee was the first to meet in 2022 and promptly permitted the proposal.

“For the committee that was nearly a no brainer,” committee chair Jo Auch acknowledged in a statement. “Our function is always to have our athletes have the power to participate as long as there’s not a safety concern involved, so it made good sense to sit back out that rule and take away the requirement for the states to authorize the carrying of religious headwear.”

Totally different sport tips committees will even take into consideration the proposal. If adopted by all, it would affect most US highschool sports activities actions.

“Najah and her family have been gracious and affected particular person all by the quite a few course of; from discovery, to listening to at the very least one one different, to learning and in the long run to decision-making on the state and nationwide ranges,” NFHS authorities director Karissa Niehoff acknowledged in a statement.

“Najah’s perspective, maturity and talent to talk define her as a model for youthful of us everywhere. We hope that her state of affairs serves as a reminder of the enticing materials of vary that exists in our schools and society complete.”

A win for spiritual freedom

Sabina Mohyuddin, authorities director of the American Muslim Advisory Council, hailed the rule change as a victory for spiritual freedom.

This Muslim basketball player refused to take off her hijab, opening doors for athletes of all faiths

“The NFHS ruling is a momentous occasion and sends a clear message that Muslim women who choose to placed on the hijab are not looking for permission to be a Muslim in public areas,” Mohyuddin suggested KBN Info.

“We’re going to preserve chipping away at any insurance coverage insurance policies that discriminate in direction of our neighborhood. Najah is definitely a trailblazer. I like her braveness and dedication to face up for her equitable entry to sports activities actions all by this course of.”

The rule change will even affect scholar athletes of various religions, along with people who placed on kippahs and Sikhs who placed on turbans.

Najah hopes her stand conjures up scholar athletes of all faiths and backgrounds to proceed advocating for equality in sports activities actions.

“If there’s any message I’ll give to everyone available on the market on this planet, don’t be afraid to look at your objectives,” Najah acknowledged. “Under no circumstances be afraid to face up for what you think about in.”