By Alaa Elassar
CNN — A Tennessee high school athlete was disqualified from a volleyball match for wearing a hijab, prompting calls for a statewide rule change.
Najah Aqeel, a freshman at Valor Collegiate Prep in Nashville, was warming up for a match on September 15 when her coach said a referee had refused to let her play due to her headscarf.
The referee cited a casebook rule requiring athletes who wear a hijab to be granted authorization from the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA). Najah, 14, said she did not have authorization, but that it wasn’t an issue for previous matches.
Faced with the choice to remove her hijab or sit out the match, Najah decided not to play. Most Muslim women who wear the hijab only remove it in the presence of other women or immediate family members.