In a few weeks, Ibtihaj Muhammad will make history in Rio as the first US Olympic athlete to compete in a hijab. Muhammad already got top honours from Time Magazine who named her one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2016. Muhammad has always been active and passionate about sports from a young age. But as a Muslim girl observing the hijab most sports uniforms had to be modified. Until one day she and her mother came upon a high school fencing team practicing in their uniforms covered from head to toe. In an interview with The Today Show, she describes fencing as a, “Uniquely accommodating sport that just kind of fit into my life as a Muslim kid. Once I had my uniform on and my mask went on, people didn’t see me for my race, they didn’t see me for my religion, they didn’t see me for my gender. “
Breaking Down Barriers
Ibtihaj faced a lot of obstacles on her journey, including discrimination due to her race and religion. In the end, her skill, talent and hard work won out. “I want to compete in the Olympics for the United States to prove that nothing should hinder anyone from reaching their goals — not race, religion or gender,” Muhammad says in her USA Fencing bio. “I want to set an example that anything is possible with perseverance.”
In 2014 she founded Louella, a fashionable modest clothing line that caters to Muslim women like herself. We all know how tough it can be to find hijabi friendly yet fashionable clothing without altering or layering every outfit. Good looking out Ibtihaj!
Good luck in Rio! And can I just put this out there - Ibtihaj for flag bearer! Should we start a hashtag?