A day of two tales evolved last week, for two Muslim women in sports, both with separate stories but one theme; the hijab. As a video emerged of one of the Muslim women adjusting her hijab frantically after it was accidentally pulled back during her football match teammates from the competing team quickly spotted her struggle, ran over and circled her so to give her privacy.
For some odd reason (perhaps not so odd) I saw this tweet and instantly teared up. I’m so grateful to see kindness among athletes where score takes second seat to respect. Thank you, unnamed athletes. I applaud you. To the girl wearing the hijab – thanks for letting them help. https://t.co/bEc8WIG3pt
— Glenn Wilson (@coachfit) October 26, 2019
The same day the hashtag with #WeStandWithNoor, #IStandWithNoor, and #LetNoorRun began to fill Twitter and Facebook as news broke that 16-year-old Noor Alexandria Abukaram was disqualified by Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) last weekend because of wearing her hijab.
She was informed not directly by the Association but by her teammates, in addition, she could not find her name on the results sheet despite coming first and achieving her PB. In a video by TRT World below she shares “..it felt like getting hit by a truck…”. Noor not only took part but won the 5 k and has been competing for a number of years.
This Muslim girl from the US state of Ohio was disqualified from a cross-country run because she was wearing a headscarf pic.twitter.com/ihw2YQ6D59
— TRT World (@trtworld) October 28, 2019
Noor has been supported by fencer Ibtihaj Mohammad who stated:
“These bigots have to be stopped.”
Along with Shireen Ahmed, prominent Sports Activist & Consultant.
Many other Muslim women in sports have supported her through the last few days too.
View this post on Instagram
Shame on you Ohio High School Athletic Association (@ohsaasports) for disqualifying cross country athlete Noor Abukaram from a district meet because she was wearing hijab. Most people don’t realize the hurdles we have to jump over as hijabi athletes just for the same opportunities to compete like everyone else. My sister Faizah and I were often targeted by NJSIAA officials and coaches, who would try to use small loop holes in the rule book to ban us from competing in hijab. These bigots have to be stopped. Sports should be a place where everyone has the right to play. Noor, your journey is bigger than track, just as my journey was bigger than fencing. We’re riding with you till the end! #LetNoorRun 🧕🏽✊🏽
A post shared by I B T I H A J (@ibtihajmuhammad) on
I am mad as hell about what happened to Noor Abukaram.
This is another example of an unnecessary and ridiculous policy around hijab in sport. #LetNoorRun
— Shireen Footybedsheets Ahmed (@_shireenahmed_) October 25, 2019
The association has since responded as per the tweet by OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass where they express the rule is wrong and they will ensure it doesn’t happen again.
While much was misrepresented about a very unfortunate situation at last week’s OHSAA District CC meet, I am proud of our staff that immediately began working on correcting a wrong. Please note the attached. pic.twitter.com/3iRlsvz95L
— Jerry Snodgrass (@Jerry_Snodgrass) October 26, 2019
I’ve got your back, Noor. Every kid should be able to feel safe and welcome at school—and Muslim students should never be denied participation in school activities. My public school plan fights discriminatory dress codes that exclude students like Noor. https://t.co/cNEZfnk3vy
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 24, 2019
Noor is an extraordinary young woman who is fighting not just for herself, but for hijabi runners everywhere. As a runner myself, this truly irked me. Here's our conversation on what happened when she was disqualified from her race because of her hijab https://t.co/kMMbAHVBsQ
— Rowaida Abdelaziz (@Rowaida_Abdel) October 24, 2019
Co-founder of Amaliah amongst many other roles. Selina is passionate about empowering those around her and just trying to be a better person. She loves looking after plants and a good cuppa because motherhood and running Amaliah.com is not for the faint hearted. She is also Co-founder to Aishah and Eesa and currently a one digit mother, Alhamdulilah. You will find her in the local charity shop, garden centre or park with her kids. Have a listen to the Amaliah Voices podcast. Link in bio peeps. To join the Amaliah Writer Community email me at [email protected]
By Hannah Idil