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Ohio governor signs religious expression bill for athletes

Noor Abukaram was a high school cross country runner in a suburb of Toledo, Ohio, who — during her running career — has been reprimanded, and sometimes disqualified, for wearing her hijab during competition. Prior policy required that athletes submit a waiver to receive permission to wear head coverings and caps during competition, but that policy was inconsistently upheld throughout the state.

On Monday, Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill into law that states that religious apparel cannot be restricted unless it causes “legitimate danger” to fellow competitors.

Andrew Welsh-Huggins of AP News writes:

Schools and school sports regulators could no longer require advance waivers or otherwise restrict participants’ religious apparel unless it causes a “legitimate danger” for fellow competitors, under a bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Mike DeWine.


The measure was inspired by an Ohio teen disqualified from a cross-country race because she was wearing a hijab without a required waiver.


Bill sponsor Sen. Theresa Gavarone, a Bowling Green Republican, researched the legislation after learning of the experience of Noor Abukaram, a runner at Sylvania Northview in suburban Toledo who was disqualified over her hijab in 2019.

Read the full article here.

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