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.