Muslim girl in US pulled from basketball game as headscarf posed ’safety risk’

Thursday, January 20, 2011

LONDON - A Muslim girl in the US was forced to sit out the first half of a basketball game after a referee decided that her headscarf posed a safety risk.

Maheen Haq, 12, of Hagerstown, Maryland, was allowed to play the second half wearing the hijab, which the referee had said could choke her, after a league administrator granted her a religious exemption.

Dr. Mohammad and Anina Haq, her parents, said their daughter was in tears after she was called out.

Daphnie V. Campbell, the league coordinator, who defended the referee’s action, said the girl’s parents would have to provide a letter stating that the headscarf is part of her religion and accept liability for any injuries.

Her coach Mark Kershner did not want to bench her at all, and said the headscarf was not a problem the first five games of the season.

“You could see that she was emotionally affected. Without embarrassing her, I could see it in her eyes,” the Daily Mail quoted Kershner as saying.

A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Ibrahim Hooper, said there are hijabs with tear-away strips designed for sports that the girl could wear. (ANI)

Filed under: Basketball, World

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