JROTC’s head scarf rule keeps Tenn. girl from parade

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – A high school freshman said her Muslim beliefs were put to the test when commanding officers in her school’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program told her she couldn’t both wear a head scarf and march in the homecoming parade.

Demin Zawity, 14, has since quit the JROTC at Ravenwood High School and returned to regular physical education classes, but the Council on American-Islamic Relations sent a letter of complaint to Williamson County Schools Director Mike Looney.

Zawity had been wearing it all along, but September homecoming marked the first time she was going to wear her JROTC uniform as well.

Zawity’s mom, Perishan Hussein, said she contacted the Council on American-Islamic Relations to complain about her daughter’s treatment.

“There are some Muslims who say she shouldn’t be involved in this and there will be Americans who say she needs to assimilate,” Hussein said. “We have to ask ourselves: Do we want to be a melting pot full of vibrant cultures? Or, do we want everyone to assimilate to one culture, one rationale, one way of being? She’s an American. I’m an American. She has a right to stand up for her rights.”

Zawity said she’s lost her interest in returning to the JROTC even if the rules are changed, but she wanted to make things better for future Muslim girls who wish to join.