Ibtihaj Muhammad is unlike any other athlete we’ve got visible before—and that is not simply because she’s one of the nice fencers in the international. While Muhammad—and observant Muslim (and one in all Times one hundred maximum Influential humans this 12 months, NBD)—heads daily Rio this summer, she’ll be the first American day-to-day rep group u.s.a. while sporting a hijab. But she’s hoping she may not be the final. My General
“A massive part of why I’m so worried in sport has every day do with the small numbers of Muslim ladies who do put on the hijab who are concerned in sports on the elite level,” explains Muhammad. He has joined VISA’s roster of Olympic-bound athletes beneath the platform of recognition and inclusion. (test out other Muslim ladies in sports in our 20 Iconic sports Moments featuring girl Athletes.)
“I didn’t forget in 2011 someone mentioned day-to-day to me that I used to be the first Muslim female everyday put on the hijab to symbolize team united states on the global stage. With qualifying for the U.S. Olympic team, I desired daily further mission to believe that Muslim girls and ladies do not participate in sports or are not involved in sports on the elite stage. I desired Muslim ladies every day recognize they may be part of group usa.”
Muhammad explains lack of know-how is a significant difficulty Muslim girls—mainly younger girls—face in this United States of america. “In American society, we’re not necessarily constantly every day the harassment and bullying that Muslim women specifically face in school for wearing the hijab,” she says.
I recognize that even for myself growing up, it turned into exceptionally, very day every day be unique from anybody else and every day put on the hijab after which on pinnacleeveryday of that be involved in a game in which it is traditionally a lot of white guys,” she says. “I appeared extraordinary from all and sundry else, so I wasn’t automatically time-honored, and I used to be challenged every day by my race and ethnicity. That’s something I have been challenged with for my complete profession.”
She is going directly to explain that “it’s no longer pretty much wearing a piece of cloth in your head,” however rather constantly being out of uniform in an experience—”if your teammates wear short sleeves, you put on long sleeves, and if they wear shorts, you wear pants. You’re continuously being questioned for being distinct and daily be day-to-day. In some instances, it’s a deterrent for several Muslim girls, even day-to-day, to be on sports activities groups. While an elite athlete, Muhammad is no stranger
to everyday blatant discrimination (which she additionally calls out on her Twitter account)—she recollects that she become even asked every day to cast off her hijab only some months in the past SXSW in Texas. “My initial response was every day snicker. I concept perhaps he changed into kidding at the beginning. However, he endured, even when I explained it turned into for spiritual motives, he saved saying, ‘well, everyone wishes every day dispose of their hat,’ basically like I wasn’t special,” she says inside the video underneath.