Ohio student says she was disqualified for running 5K in hijab

Date: 
October, 2019
Country: 
United States of America

A high school girl from Ohio says she was disqualified from a 5K last weekend for wearing a hijab during the race.

Noor Alexandria Abukaram, a junior at Sylvania Northview High School, ran her fastest 5K of the season Saturday — at 22 minutes and 22 seconds — but she then learned she’d been disqualified for wearing her religious head covering.

“My hijab is a part of me,” the teen told local NBC affiliate WNWO. “Like, if you’re asking me to run without my hijab, you’re asking me not to run. That’s period. Point blank.”

To compete in a head covering, runners must get a waiver from the Ohio High School Athletic Association granting them permission for a religious restriction before the race, a rep for the organization told NBC News.

“The official was simply enforcing this rule since a waiver had not been submitted,” the spokesperson said.

“The official was simply enforcing this rule since a waiver had not been submitted,” the spokesperson said.

But the teen — who runs in a Nike hijab the company created for Muslim athletes — said she’d competed in several races before and was never questioned about her attire until now.

Getting her placement in the race wiped away was “disappointing,” she said.

Girl’s varsity cross country coach, Jerry Flowers, said he was informed of the apparel violation but wanted to give Abukaram the chance to compete, even if it wouldn’t count.

He now has a waiver for Abukaram, allowing her to run in this coming weekend’s regional competition

“She’s had a good week of practice. She seems focused. She’s a tough kid. Hopefully, she’ll have another season-best,” Flowers said. “I’m excited we get another chance.”

Source: NYP