Hijab forces US girl to miss part of game

HAGERSTOWN, Maryland  — A 12-year-old Muslim girl in Maryland was forced to sit out the first half of a basketball game by a referee who said her headscarf posed a safety risk.

Seventh-grader Maheen Haq of Hagerstown was allowed to play the second half wearing the hijab after a league administrator granted her a religious exemption. Daphnie V. Campbell said the girl's parents will have to provide a letter stating that the headscarf is part of their daughter's religion and accept liability for any injuries. She defended the referee's action.

A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Ibrahim Hooper, said there are hijabs with tear-away strips designed for sports that the girl could wear. He said cases like these can usually be solved with cooperation from both sides.