Athlete with hijab disqualified from volleyball match in US

A high school volleyball player in the US’ Tennessee was disqualified for wearing a hijab during the match.

According to a CNN report, Najah Aqeel, a freshman at Valor Collegiate Prep in Nashville, was warming up for a match on September 15 when her coach said a referee refused to let her play due to her hijab.

Citing a casebook rule, the referee said that Najah required an authorisation from Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association to wear the headscarf.

Najah, who had a choice to either remove her hijab or sit out of the match, eventually decided not to play.

“I was angry, sad and also shocked just because I had never heard of the rule before that,” Najah told CNN. “The rule has no business being in the casebook. It singles out hijabis. I don’t see why I need approval to wear my hijab when it is a part of my religion.”

However, according to Karissa Niehoff, executive director for The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFSH) which sets competition rules for most US high school sports, uniform guidelines are not hard rules and states can make exceptions.

“We are heartbroken and deeply sorry that the young lady was disqualified from the match for wearing the hijab,” Niehoff told CNN.