New Hanover players rally around Muslim teammate

New Hanover girls basektball

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Before she ever got on the basketball court, New Hanover High School’s Qassata Turner was answering questions from teammates about the khimar she wears on her head.

A khimar is a covering or veil worn in public by some Muslim women that typically covers the head, neck, and shoulders.

“She had to explain it to the whole team,” said Turner’s teammate, Chakala Hill, “and why she had to keep it on and what she believes in.”

Turner, a senior, says she has never heard anything negative directed toward her while playing.

“I thought it would be hard with the stares and people looking at me,” said Turner. “But I have never had a problem.”

Once during her freshman year, Turner was questioned by a referee about wearing the khimar.

“When the ref was like, ‘You can’t wear that on your head,’ my whole team was like, ‘She has to wear it,’” Turner recalled.

“We all had to speak up for her,” Hill added, “because it’s a lot to handle for one person. We just had to have her back at that time and explain that’s what she believes in and you can’t make her take it off.”

It’s a moment Turner will never forget.

“I didn’t know they felt that way about me,” Turner said. “That was really, like, the best moment.”

New Hanover coach Larry Sampson keeps documentation that states Turner can wear her khimar in case any officials question it.

“I taped the note in my scorebook,” said Sampson. “I think we have been asked maybe twice and I just open my book and they say, ‘OK.’”

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