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OHSAA to change uniform rules in response to disqualified hijab-wearing Northview runner

Noor Alexandria Abukaram (Bri Malaska/WNWO)
Noor Alexandria Abukaram (Bri Malaska/WNWO)
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After she was disqualified from a race for wearing her hijab at a cross-country meet, a local student may be getting the changes she asked for.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) announced it will be making a change to the rule that led to her disqualification.

Noor Alexandria Abukaram says she spoke up to make sure that no other girl would face the same injustice.

"Sports is supposed to be a place of inclusion and when you disclude people because of their religion then that's really disappointing," Abukaram said.

Just a week after the disqualification, Abukaram was back on the course and beat her personal record while wearing her hijab.

"When I got to run, it made me realize that its about more than what's going on at OHSAA and what's going on in Toledo. It's about justice in sports around the world and religious freedom in sports."

Since she spoke out, Abukaram has found so many women have reached out to her, showing this is an issue across the country.

"Seeing all these other Muslim women coming to me and telling me 'You know, this has happened to me,' then it's like—that's insane. It shouldn't have been happening in the first place."

The OHSAA issued a statement over the weekend apologizing to her and her family and announcing that the board of directors would immediately change the outdated regulation so this doesn't happen again.

"Obviously when I heard this, I just could not believe myself," said S. Maseeh Rehman, president of the United Muslim Association of Toledo.

Rehman said all the public support shows that things are changing across the country when it comes to opinions about the Islamic faith.

"There was a time when, you know, we had to go every time on TV to say if there is an act of terrorism anywhere, 'We have nothing to do with it.'"

Now he hopes that other state associations will take a look at their rules to show acceptance for the Muslim community and all other religions.

"I am happy to see that the message is being conveyed, is being heard and now people realize that is not that entire 1.2 billion Muslims are terrorists or creating problems."

OHSAA has yet to provide details about how or when the rules will change.

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