Change comes following intervention by Muslim civil rights group
WASHINGTON, June 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today applauded a decision by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) to modify its policy on competitor apparel to allow modest Islamic attire.
The IWF policy change, which now allows a full-body unitard under the compulsory weightlifting attire, came following intervention by CAIR in the case of a Muslim weightlifter in Georgia who wishes to compete while covering her hair, arms and legs.
CAIR: Muslim American Weightlifter 'Presses' On in Fight to Compete
Last week, CAIR offered the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) draft language for a policy change on Islamic attire for consideration by the IWF during its ongoing meeting in Malaysia.
The USOC agreed to ask the IWF's technical committee to review a policy preventing the Muslim athlete, 35-year-old Kulsoom Abdullah (http://liftingcovered.com/), from competing in the USA Weightlifting Senior Nationals to be held this July in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Abdullah also submitted a video presentation on the issue for consideration by the IWF.
Video: Suggestions & Guidelines for Modified Competition Uniform
In a statement released today in Malaysia announcing the change, IWF President Dr. Tamas Ajan said:
"Weightlifting is an Olympic Sport open for all athletes to participate without discrimination on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex, age, or national origin in accordance with the principles of the Olympic Charter and values. This rule modification has been considered in the spirit of fairness, equality and inclusion."
SEE: International Weightlifting Federation Creates More Inclusive Sport Environment
"We welcome this important decision in support of greater inclusion in athletic competition and urge the representatives of other international bodies to take similar steps," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "We thank the United States Olympic Committee for helping to empower Muslim women athletes and for taking a stand in support of the American tradition of religious diversity."
Hooper noted that a 15-year-old Canadian Muslim soccer referee was recently told she could not perform her job while wearing hijab. Earlier this month, an Iranian women's soccer team was barred from an Olympic qualifying match in Jordan because of the athletes' modest attire.
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CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, or 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations