CAIR: U.S. Olympic Committee Asks for Review of Hijab Policy

Jun 10, 2011, 13:02 ET from Council on American-Islamic Relations

USOC to advocate on behalf of Muslim weightlifter at international meeting

WASHINGTON, June 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following intervention by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) says it will present the case of a Muslim weightlifter in Georgia who wishes to compete wearing modest Islamic attire (hijab) to an international body meeting June 26 in Malaysia.

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CAIR says the USOC will ask a committee of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) to review a policy preventing the Muslim athlete, 35-year-old Kulsoom Abdullah (, from competing in the USA Weightlifting Senior Nationals to be held this July in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

USA Weightlifting is a United States Olympic Committee National Governing Body (NGB). Officials of USA Weightlifting cite IWF rules in barring Abdullah from competition.

The IWF committee's recommendation will be presented to the body's executive board, which meets the next day in Penang, Malaysia.

"We appreciate the United States Olympic Committee's prompt action in support of religious diversity in sport and will monitor the results of the meetings in Malaysia," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "We believe there is always a way to maintain the legitimate rules of any sport, while offering athletes reasonable religious accommodation."

Awad thanked all those who contacted the USOC and the other parties involved in the issue to express support for the rights of athletes of all faiths who wish to wear modest attire.

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:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail:

SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations