Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir became a legendary basketball player when she shattered the 20-year high school scoring record in Massachusetts. She then went on to become the first player to wear a hijab in collegiate (NCAA) basketball. But for the last two years, she’s been prevented from playing professionally by an arbitrary yet discriminatory rule banning hijabs, turbans, and other religious headcoverings in the name of “safety.”
Today, 50+ organizations issued a letter to President Horacio Muratore of FIBA (the International Basketball Federation) requesting that the organization lift its ban on religious headcoverings, which continues to have a discriminatory impact on Muslim, Sikh, and Jewish players wishing to pursue careers in professional and international basketball.
“I am very grateful for the organizations who are in support of this movement to ensure that everyone has a shot at their dreams regardless of their faith. I hope that FIBA sees how important it is to remove the ban on hijab and other religious headwear, because it is now bigger than just basketball,” said Bilquis Abdul-Qaadir. “In a time when we see Islamophobia and xenophobia in many areas of public life, sports should remain an arena where one can succeed based on their skill, not their background.”
Learn more about Bilquis by watching the trailer for her upcoming documentary, Life Without Basketball.
The letter follows a petition that has gathered nearly 17,000 signatures.
The full text of the letter is available below or via this link.