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The National Collegiate Athletic Association has permitted a Muslim wrestler to keep his beard during competition.

Muhamed McBryde may keep his beard during the 2014-15 season, the NCAA said, as long as he wears a face mask and chin strap.

Mr. McBryde, a 17-year-old formerly home-schooled junior at the University at Buffalo, is a practicing Muslim who says Islam requires that he not shave.

The Buffalo News reported that Mr. McBryde had missed roughly 20 matches since December after his coach informed him he could not compete in tournaments because of his beard.

According to NCAA wrestling rules, the limits on facial hair are done for hygienic reasons. Beards are permitted in international wrestling competitions, including the Olympics.

Mr. McBryde’s father, Mustafa, told the Buffalo News that the request for a waiver was a “reasonable” accommodation. “A lot of Muslims, we just bend to these sorts of things, primarily because we’re not aware of our rights,” he said.

The Buffalo paper reported that NCAA Secretary-Rules Editor Ron Beaschler requested feedback on the use of the face mask to consider for future issues regarding facial hair.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which lobbied on behalf of Mr. McBryde, shared the news on its website, and pledged to work with the NCAA to change the overall policy on beards.

“We welcome this reasonable religious accommodation by the NCAA, which will enable Muslim athletes to participate in wrestling without violating their religious beliefs,” said Council on American-Islamic Relations staff attorney Gadeir Abbas, who worked on getting the waiver.


In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that a New York town could open its government meetings with prayer, the American Humanist Association has launched a program offering resources for those wishing to deliver their own secular sermon.

The Humanist Society, an adjunct to the American Humanist Association, has a list of secular celebrants for each state, as well as sample invocations on its site.

“Non-religious people are often asked to contribute to a ceremonial event, but some struggle to find an alternative to religious wording,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “We want to make it easier for anyone who wants to give a secular invocation so that legislative meetings can be nondiscriminatory.”

Humanism, according to the American Humanist Association, is “non-theistic.”

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