Friday, January 18, 2008

High School Track Star Disqualified from Meet Because of Muslim Clothing

By Adam Howard, AlterNet
Posted on January 17, 2008, Printed on January 18, 2008
This is ridiculous, bigoted insanity. When is it ever going to stop?

A Muslim DC high school track star competed with no trouble Wednesday, despite a speed suit that covers her head, neck and ankles, in deference to her faith.

On Saturday, Juashaunna Kelly was disqualified at a Montgomery County meet because she declined to change it. That's created a nationwide controversy on the internet, some of it vicious and filled with hate.

The 17 year old Gatorade Athlete of the Year took to the track this time with a huge smile instead of tears. The head of the DC Interscholastic Athletic Association told her it was fine to run in the multi-colored speed suit that serves as her Muslim headcovering when she competes.

"I'm not going to let no one stop me from competing," says the Roosevelt High School senior. "I'm just going to use what I have and go out there and do my best."

On Saturday, officials at the prestigious Montgomery Invitational told Kelly that the custom made outfit in her school colors violates the rules of the national athletic federation.

But DC officials said at the DC Invitational Wednesday that the national rules are just guidelines.

You can tell from this story and from this video that Ms. Kelly is a strong, proud and decent young person and I applaud her for sticking by her principles but it still saddens me that she has to and that she's been abused in this way. Apparently now both Juashaunna's family and the track meet director have been the subjects of hate and threat filled emails. The situation as of right now has not been resolved. Check out the video to your right for more.

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