Muslim basketball player banned

Watkins Mill High School player benched due to religious head scarf

GAITHERSBURG, Md. - Officials with the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association have issued an apology following a controversy over religious head gear.

A 16-year-old basketball player by the name of Ja'nan Hayes from Watkins Mill High School in Gaithersburg was barred from playing in her team’s final varsity game.

The game itself took place in Prince George's County.

Officials told the team that Hayes needed a special note granting her permission to wear her hijab during the game.

Representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations have stepped in on behalf of the family and are now working to get the rule against religious attire removed all together.

"She had played 24 games in Montgomery County without any problem and now the first team that she plays outside of her home, she gets benched," said Council on American-Islamic Relations spokeswoman Zainab Chaudry. "The referees had told her that she needs an exception letter that needs to be on file" 

Doctor Chaudry also pointed out that in her own research on the rule, no player in sport had previously been injured or put in danger by the wearing of such religious attire.

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