Wearing religious attire like a Hijab and covering one’s legs and arms while fighting in the official boxing ring is normally not allowed according to the international boxing regulations. Because of these regulations, Muslim women are torn in between following their beliefs and their love for boxing. Sixteen-year-old Amaiya Zafar was one of those women until recently. For the past 3 years amateur boxer
For the past 3 years amateur boxer Amaiya Zafar was not allowed to fight in an official competition because of her choice to abide by her religious beliefs. Even though Zafar was not allowed to officially compete she did not let that discourage her from boxing, she continued to train and practice because it is what she loved to do.
Last week, Zafar and her family received amazing news that USA Boxing, the national governing body for the sport, was offering her an exemption to its clothing mandate. Zafar is the first boxer to receive the benefits of a new rule regarding religious exemptions that the USA Boxing board of directors is expected to adopt in June, according to The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a leading Muslim advocacy organization.
“This is a positive step forward in the continuing struggle for religious freedom in our state and nation.” – Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of CAIR-MN.
The rule will apply to local “non-advancing matched bouts,” and a request for a religious exemption must be made for each event in which the boxer wants to participate in.
“Boxing is about to get a whole lot better because they’re being inclusive of a whole group of people who couldn’t compete before.” – Amiya Zafar via NBC News
Zafar’s first competition will be at the Spring Fling Amateur Boxing match on April 29 in Minneapolis. The teen hopes to compete at the 2020 Olympics in Toyko. With her faith, family and boxing coach Nathaniel Haile we believe that anything is possible!
“She earned the right to showcase her skills, and I’m happy for her. But it’s just the first step in letting her achieve her dreams.” – Nathanial Haile, Amaiya Zafar’s boxing coach.