Basketball Star Fights to Lift FIBA’s Hijab Ban

Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir is more than just some average hooper. The 26-year-old Springfield, Massachusetts native holds the record for the most points scored in the state’s history for high school basketball (male or female). She’s also the first NCAA Division I player to wear a hijab on the court.

Abdul-Qaadir skills were unmatched and she was a force to be reckoned with, but now, as she looks to play overseas her b-ball journey has come to halt due to FIBA’s hijab ban.

According to Rule 4.2.2. of basketball’s governing body, FIBA, states that “players shall not wear equipment (objects) that may cause injury to other players. However, there’s no evidence in FIBA’s history that a hijab, turban, yarmulke, or tichel have actually caused injury to a player or an opponent.

Abdul-Qaadir currently works as an educator and athletic director in a private school in Tennessee, but her heart still remains on the court.

Despite the ever-growing representation of Muslim women in sports, FIBA’s executive committee is comprised of all males and the central board has four women out of 23 on the committee. This is common in international federations, and as a result, we see bans in different sports that mostly affect women.