Press Release

Hyper links to the three releases:
Latest press Release June 29, 2011

Press Release June 20, 2011

First press release June 8, 2011


CAIR Applauds Weightlifting Rule Change to Allow Islamic Attire
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CAIR Applauds Weightlifting Rule Change to Allow Islamic Attire

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/29/11) — 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

http://tinyurl.com/3zddpfa

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.

CAIR Offers USOC Language for New Weightlifting Hijab Policy

http://tinyurl.com/3vfkjsd

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

http://tinyurl.com/3ez7luy

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

http://www.iwf.net/news/latest_news.php

“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.

CAIR-CAN: ‘Beautiful Game’ Should be Open to Muslim Women

http://tinyurl.com/3bfbqeh

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.

Become a Fan of CAIR on Facebook

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Subscribe to CAIR’s E-Mail List

http://tinyurl.com/cairsubscribe

Subscribe to CAIR’s Twitter Feed

http://twitter.com/cairnational

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http://www.youtube.com/cairtv

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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, or 202-488-8787, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com



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 Georgiawho wishes to compete wearing modest Islamic attire (hijab) to an international body meeting June 26 in Malaysia.

Video: International Body to Consider Athlete’s Hijab Request (CAIR)

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/28193870/detail.html

Video: Atlanta Muslim Woman Challenges Weightlifting Rule

http://tinyurl.com/5ra9q6b

CAIR: Muslim Lifter Tries to Compete and Remain Faithful

http://tinyurl.com/6flobwh

CAIR: Muslim Woman Wants to Lift Dress Code Rules

http://tinyurl.com/3fgbq4j

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 (http://liftingcovered.com/), 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.

Become a Fan of CAIR on Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/CAIRNational

Subscribe to CAIR’s E-Mail List

http://tinyurl.com/cairsubscribe

Subscribe to CAIR’s Twitter Feed

http://twitter.com/cairnational

Subscribe to CAIR’s YouTube Channel

http://www.youtube.com/cairtv

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, or 202-488-8787, E-Mail:ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com

SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CAIR Seeks Hijab Rights for Banned Ga. Muslim Woman Weightlifter
Muslim civil rights group asks U.S. Olympic Committee to intervene

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/8/11) –- A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today called on the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to intervene in the case of a Muslim weightlifter in Georgia who is being banned from tournaments because she wishes to compete wearing modest Islamic attire (hijab).

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is asking that the Muslim athlete, 35-year-old Kulsoom Abdullah ( http://liftingcovered.com/) of Atlanta, Ga., be allowed to compete in the USA Weightlifting Senior Nationals to be held this July in Council Bluffs, Iowa, pending the outcome of a formal hearing on her request for reasonable religious accommodation.

CAIR is also requesting that both the USOC and USA Weightlifting advocate on her behalf — and on behalf of women of all faiths who wish to compete while wearing modest attire — with the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). (USA Weightlifting is a United States Olympic Committee National Governing Body (NGB).)

Abdullah, who competes in the 48kg and 53kg weight class in the women’s senior division, reported to CAIR that USA Weightlifting prevented her from participating in the American Open in December 2010 due to her desire to wear modest Islamic attire covering her hair and body with the exception of her face, hands and feet.

The ban on Abdullah’s competition has been maintained despite her requests for accommodation and her willingness to work with USA Weightlifting officials on a solution to the issue of attire that will satisfy the legitimate requirements of all parties.

In a letter sent today to USOC Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad wrote in part:

“USA Weightlifting has apparently rejected Ms. Abdullah’s repeated requests for accommodation of her sincere religious beliefs and practices. Officials of USA Weightlifting cite International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) rules in rejecting any accommodation and in refusing to discuss a mutually-agreeable solution that would allow Ms. Abdullah to compete while maintaining her religious principles and without giving her an advantage over other competitors.

“As you know, the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act requires that USA Weightlifting not discriminate based on ‘race, color, religion, sex, age, or national origin’ in order to maintain its status as a national governing body. . .

“It also states that an athlete must be given ‘fair notice and opportunity for a hearing to any amateur athlete, coach, trainer, manager, administrator, or official before declaring the individual ineligible to participate.’. . .

“No athlete should be forced to choose between faith and sport. Muslim women seek to participate in all aspects of American society, including sporting activities, and should not face artificial and arbitrary barriers to that participation.”

Awad added that this case is not occurring in isolation. Earlier this month, an Iranian women’s soccer team was barred from an Olympic qualifying match in Jordan because of the athletes’ modest attire.

SEE: Iran Women’s Olympic Dream Crushed by Dress Code Ruling
http://tinyurl.com/6dv4uj7

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.

Become a Fan of CAIR on Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/CAIRNational
Subscribe to CAIR’s E-Mail List
http://tinyurl.com/cairsubscribe
Subscribe to CAIR’s Twitter Feed
http://twitter.com/cairnational
Subscribe to CAIR’s YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/cairtv

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