Hijab-Wearing Athletes and the Fight for Inclusion in Sports
Hijab-wearing athletes are now a common sight on the sports field. With the proliferation of high profile sports events and competitions in recent years, Muslim athletes of all persuasions are increasingly being recognized by their fans and rivals alike. It is no secret that some athletes wear their hijab out of pride and tradition, but many others are motivated by a desire to make a statement about their faith. For instance, Ibtihaj Muhammad, a professional basketball player who plays for the Dallas Mavericks, has been wearing his hijab for over a decade. He says that wearing the hijab is a way to show the world that Islam is not a religion that is confined to the confines of the Muslim community.
Ibtihaj Muhammad is an athlete, entrepreneur, activist, and sports ambassador. She has been breaking down barriers for Muslim-American athletes for years. Her journey from growing up in New Jersey to becoming an Olympic fencing champion has been chronicled in her book, Proud: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream.
In 2012, Muhammad was named the International Sportswoman of the Year by the Muslim Women's Sports Foundation. The next year, she was selected to the US National Fencing Team. This marked the first time a Muslim athlete was chosen for the U.S. team.
Ibtihaj earned a bronze medal for the United States at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Throughout her career, she has won five Senior World Team medals.
While competing, Muhammad was the first American Muslim woman to wear a hijab in an Olympic sport. Since then, she has been a pioneer in the fight for inclusion in sports.
Since retiring from fencing in 2017, Ibtihaj has taken on other roles as an advocate for diversity in sports. She is currently the ambassador for the Empowering Women and Girls through Sport initiative. She also works with the U.S. State Department on the Sports for Good campaign. Among other things, she is involved with the Special Olympics.
Ibtihaj is a fierce advocate for the fight against xenophobia and discrimination in sports. Her mission is to empower girls to find their own calling. Through her work, she is a powerful symbol of hope.
Ibtihaj is one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People. In addition, she is the founder of Athletes for Impact. These organizations seek to break down stereotypes in sports and increase the number of women and girls participating in athletics.
If you're a fan of the Olympics, you're likely aware that Muslim women are participating in the Games. But, in some cases, they haven't been given the same opportunities that non-Muslim athletes have. In fact, it's not always clear whether wearing a hijab is an official part of any sport. It's also not easy to find a sport that doesn't require a dress code.
Nike has announced a sport hijab, and it's a big step forward for gender equality in sports. Although it isn't the first time that Nike has made an effort to include Muslim women, it is the latest move in the company's quest to make diversity and inclusion a priority.
Nike's new hijab is made of breathable fabric and is meant to protect the head and body from hot temperatures. It's not available yet, but it's on the way.
Ibtihaj Muhammad is the first American athlete to compete in the Olympic games wearing a hijab. She won a bronze medal at the Rio Games and became the first Muslim woman to represent the United States in the sporting event.
Meanwhile, the International Weightlifting Federation has loosened its rules to allow female weightlifters to cover their legs. That's something the Olympics has a lot to say about.
A group called the Council on American-Islamic Relations has called the new hijab "the most significant achievement in the history of sports." According to CAIR, the hijab's introduction to sports is a positive step toward equal rights for Muslims.
On the other hand, Muslim women athletes have been outspoken about their opposition to proposed legislation that would ban headscarves from sports. They argue that headscarves represent patriarchy, Islamic radicalism, and a lack of women's empowerment.
The quest for equality of sexes has prompted a spate of women in sports organizations that aim to promote gender parity on the court and the boardroom. As a result, women are able to play to their strengths in a safe and supportive environment. One organization in particular, the Women's Basketball Association (WBA) has set the standard for female oriented sport in the US. In the spirit of inclusiveness, WBA has even partnered with the Muslim community to build and grow the athletic community. Its motto is to bring women together and encourage collaboration amongst their members. Similarly, the aptly named Muslim Women's Organization (MWO) is a member-driven group that is dedicated to fostering gender parity on the court and the boardroom. To make that possible, MWO has partnered with the WBA to create a sports community. The organization also has a robust mentorship program that has been in the works for a number of years. A burgeoning cadre of talented athletes, including WBA player Bilqis Abdul Qaadir, have been groomed into a plethora of female oriented basketball stars. In fact, there is a new crop of female superstars that have been dubbed as the sexiest to grace the hoop. With a collective budget of over a million dollars, a roster full of starlets and a roster full of dedicated and well-trained coaches, WBA has been a perennial powerhouse for some time now.
Turbaned Sikh athletes
The International Basketball Federation's ("FIBA") recent ban on turbaned Sikh athletes has spurred debate on the issue of religious attire in sports. Many members of Congress have criticized the decision, and the World Sikh Council - America Region (WSC-AR) has launched a campaign to change the policy.
On July 21, two Sikh players were asked to remove their turbans before entering the court for an international basketball game. FIBA officials said they had violated the organization's rules by wearing their turbans. But before the game began, they reversed their position and allowed the players to play.
Although the FIBA policy is controversial, there have been other instances of sporting organizations allowing players to wear their turbans. For instance, the National Basketball League of Canada permits players to wear turbans, while the NCAA allows Sikhs to wear turbans as long as they keep their natural hair under the turban.
A group of Sikhs launched a campaign called #LetSikhsPlay. It is a social media effort to promote awareness and inclusion of Sikh athletes in sports. They have been backed by the United States Congress and 57 Gurdwaras in the country.
The turbaned Sikh players have been targeted with racism. Their images were used to create racist internet memes and derogatory comments. In fact, Darsh Preet Singh, the first turbaned Sikh athlete to play NCAA basketball, received online harassment.
However, the turbaned Sikhs are not complaining. Instead, they are protesting FIBA's decision to require them to remove their turbans. As a result, many fans have reacted to the rule via social media.
Members of Congress have also taken up the cause, writing a letter to the president of FIBA and urging him to change the policy. Two dozen other Congressmen have endorsed the campaign.
Nike's Pro Hijab
The Nike Pro Hijab is a welcome development in the world of sports. This new product encourages women to engage in their passions and be more athletic. But, many are still skeptical of this new offering. Moreover, some say that the company is attempting to get credit for a conversation that hasn't yet begun.
One question is whether Nike's Pro Hijab will deter Muslim women from participating in sports. Nike didn't expect backlash from its pro-hijab release, but its campaign has nonetheless sparked a debate.
Nike's Pro Hijab was conceived and designed to help female athletes in the Middle East, but the garment also carries a powerful message: Nike recognizes the contributions of Muslim women and their willingness to participate in athletics.
Nike has enlisted professional and everyday Muslim athletes to make its hijab a reality. A prototype was created with input from these women, and it was tested by a few athletes, including a Muslim triathlete.
There are several other companies that manufacture athletic hijabs, but Nike is the first to bring such a product to market. Despite the skepticism of some women, the Nike Pro Hijab is a step forward in the fight for inclusion in sports.
Some say that Nike is using recent developments in women's rights to promote its new line of clothing. However, some feel that the company's move is motivated by profit and not by social justice.
Nike's Pro Hijab may be a game changer for Muslim women. Currently, the only way to compete in sports is to wear a traditional hijab, which can be cumbersome and often causes female athletes to quit.