DETROIT, Mich. (WSYM) - A Detroit boxer says he is being forced to choose between following his passion or his faith.
Basheer Abdur is Muslim and says he believes Allah called on men who are devoted followers to keep their beards.
He says USA Boxing banned him from taking part in the Golden Gloves Tournament because of his beard.
According to USA Boxing rules, he says he needs a religious waiver filed seven days before each fight.
However, in progressive tournaments, you can’t file seven days in advance for fights you don’t yet qualify for.
“All we are asking them to do is take a look at their policy and implement their religious waiver requirement in the same manner that they do other waivers,” said Amy V. Doukoure, CAIR-MI Staff Attorney.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations announced the filing of a Michigan Department of Civil Rights complaint against USA Boxing Thursday.
Abdur says he is fighting for a change not only for him but for all Muslims passionate about the sport he loves.
“I love boxing. It is central to who I am. What do water mean to you? That is what boxing means to me. I see myself at the top one day,” said Abdur.
He says he will always prioritize his faith over sport. He looks forward to the day he doesn’t have to choose one over the other.
7 Action News reached out to USA Boxing for comment, and have not yet heard back.