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Mastery Charter Student Benched For Wearing Hijab Sparks Rule Change

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – 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.