Noor Alexandria Abukaram is a 16-year-old Muslim student at Sylvania Northview High School in Ohio and on the school’s cross country team. Earlier this month, the teen competed in a 5K race in which she excelled, finishing the race faster than she’s done this whole season, at just 22 minutes and 22 seconds. Unfortunately, Abukaram didn’t get to enjoy her successful run because she was ultimately disqualified for running while wearing a hijab, according to Today.
A hijab is a head covering worn by Muslim girls and women while they are in public. For Abukaram, running without her hijab was simply not an option. While her disqualification may seem like a form of discrimination, there’s more to it than it may seem. The Ohio High School Athletic Association does allow students to run while wearing hijabs. However, they must have a waiver directly from the OHSAA which gives them permission to run with the head covering. Unfortunately, Abukaram wasn’t aware of this rule and thus didn’t have a waiver to present.
Abukaram’s coach, Jerry Flowers, was able to get a waiver for her so she will be allowed to participate in upcoming competitions without issue. However, the 16-year-old still feels that she was treated unfairly in regards to her previous disqualification. She claims that the rule regarding the hijab did not exist in writing and that she had run many races in the past in which her attire was never questioned or even brought up.
“I feel like my rights as an athlete were violated this weekend because this rule does NOT exist in writing. I should not have to get a waiver signed and approved by OSAA to allow me to race due to my religious head covering,” she said following the race.
While Flowers has full faith in Abukaram that this negative experience won’t hold her back or keep her from beating her score again in the future, Abukaram can’t help but be disappointed that her race was taken away from her.
“When you get that taken away from you and your placing in the whole race is taken away…I don’t know… it was disappointing, I guess,” she said.
There have been many instances in recent years in which young women wearing hijabs have been treated unfairly or experienced far worse horrors as a result of their faith. As The Inquisitr previously reported, an incident occurred in 2018 in Iran in which a young woman wearing a hijab was taunted and attacked by a special task force.