Student Benched For Wearing Hijab Sparks Rule Change

It's a victory for religious freedom sparked by a Philadelphia teen who loves the game of basketball.Mastery C...

Posted: May 30, 2018 7:25 AM
Updated: May 30, 2018 7:25 AM

It's a victory for religious freedom sparked by a Philadelphia teen who loves the game of basketball.

Mastery Charter sophomore Nasihah Thompson-King has been playing basketball since seventh-grade. She loves the game but was shocked that she was asked to remove her traditional Muslim hijab headgear during a playoff game back in February.

"It was our second playoff game against Palumbo and when it was time for me to get in the game a referee told me I couldn't play with my hijab on. I had to take it off if I wanted to play, so I decided just not to play," said Thompson-King.

At the time, the referee was enforcing a Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association rule requiring athletes to get prior approval for any head garment for religious or medical reasons. But Thompson-King had never had a problem wearing her hijab before.

"I just didn't wanna take it off because of my religion," she said.

The incident sparked outrage over the constitutionality of the policy and calls for PIAA rule changes. That's when Pennsylvania state Sen. Shariff Street got involved.

"We're asking you to change your rule books to accommodate First Amendment rights to freedom of religion and freedom of expression," Street said.

This week, the PIAA did change its policy, now stating that religious headwear is permitted without prior approval.

"I was excited when I was told the news and I was happy for myself and anybody else who wears a hijab when they play basketball so they won't have any questioning about the hijab," said Thompson-King.

"I'm absolutely proud of my Nasihah, that's my only daughter and I'm so proud of her, of what she's done and playing basketball and also taking a stand," said Nasihah's mother, Fatima Thompson.

"I have two more years of basketball to play and I'm looking forward to seeing more females and males wearing their religious head covering," said Nasihah.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 308111

Reported Deaths: 7122
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20826248
Hinds19910411
Harrison17510302
Rankin13334276
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Lee9871170
Jones8297160
Forrest7525147
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Stone179331
Clarke177076
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Lawrence126423
Noxubee126233
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Perry125138
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Franklin82123
Quitman78916
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Wilkinson64928
Jefferson64828
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 520503

Reported Deaths: 10722
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754091487
Mobile38938798
Madison33898495
Tuscaloosa25297443
Montgomery23992567
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Baldwin20652300
Lee15541165
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St. Clair9435234
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Talladega8071171
Walker7100275
Jackson6762110
Autauga6734103
Blount6497135
Colbert6210130
Coffee5404112
Dale4766110
Russell429038
Franklin419982
Chilton4087109
Covington4056114
Tallapoosa3898146
Escambia388574
Dallas3531149
Chambers3503122
Clarke346560
Marion3066100
Pike305876
Lawrence295395
Winston272572
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Pickens233059
Barbour225255
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Fayette209260
Henry187744
Cherokee182144
Randolph176941
Monroe172040
Washington164238
Macon154848
Clay149555
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146241
Lamar139334
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Wilcox124327
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Coosa99328
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