August 08, 2019 3 min read

For the past decade or so, Muslim women have grabbed various sports by the hand (and sometimes feet… literally) and pushed through to fight against as well as challenge patriarchal norms. For these women, sports have become a movement for self-determination; they know that while pursuing their passions and following their unconventional dreams, they are changing the perception of the kind of work or careers Muslim women “should” be aiming for, or are capable of achieving — from the lens of several Muslim men (and sometimes even women.) On the other hand, they are subconsciously deconstructing the continuing stereotype that Muslim women are oppressed — from the lens of several Non-Muslim men and women. 

 

 Photo by Taylor-Ferne Morris 

We’ve gathered a list of 10 Muslim women (out of thousands) who are in sports and making history through their determination, hard-work, and persistence. Check them out and show them some love. 

  • #1 Aliya Mustafina, Gymnast (@musaliya135): 
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    This 24-year-old has won three Olympic medals: A gold in women's uneven bars, silver in team all-around, and bronze in the individual all-around event.

  • #2 Khadijah Diggs, Triathlete (@khadijahtriathlete): 
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    As a mother, Project Manager, and Triathlete, Khadija’s mission is to promote a positive image of Muslim women and Islam through sports. This all-star competed in her first Triathlon in 2012 — since then, she has entered more than 40 events and completed all but one of them. She is the first African American woman to represent Team USA in Long Course Triathlon!

  • #3 Sarah Attar, Track and Field Athlete (@sarahattar):  
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    Sarah competed at the2012 Summer Olympics as one of the first two female Olympians representing Saudi Arabia. She also competed 2016 Olympics marathon.

  • #4 Alina Zagitova, Figure Skater (@azagitova): 
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    This Tatar born, Russianfigure skater is the 2018 Olympic champion, the 2019 World champion, the2018 European champion,2017–18 Grand Prix Final champion, and the2018 Russian national champion. She also won a silver medal in the team event at the2018 Winter Olympics, representing Olympic Athletes from Russia.

  • #5 Sania Mirza, Tennis Player (@saniamirzatennisacademy):
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    As a former world #1 in the doubles discipline, Sania has won sixGrand Slam titles in her career. From 2003 until her retirement from singles in 2013 — she was ranked by the Women’s Tennis Association as India’s #1 player in both categories. 

  • #6 Aries Susanti Rahayu, Speed Climber (@aries_susanti):
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    In 2018, Aries received her first gold medal at theClimbing World Cup inChongqing. She later received one bronze inTai'an and two more gold medals at the World Cups inWujiang andXiamen, all inChina. At the end of the 2018 season, she was second in the overall ranking in the Speed Climbing discipline.

  • #7 Stephanie Kurlow, Ballerina (@stephaniekurlow): 
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    Stephanie is an Australian dancer and ballet student, best known as the world’s first hijabi ballerina. Earlier this year, she was featured in a global campaign with Converse named ‘Love The Progress’ — inviting girls to redefine what it means to be a woman.

  • #8 Kulsoom Abdullah, Weightlifter (@kbak76):
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    Kulsoom challenged the International Weightlifting Federation to gain the right to wear a hijab and a full-body unitard. Soon after, athletes in other sports began doing the same.

  • #9 Rahaf Khatib, International Marathon Runner (@runlikeahijabi):
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    Rahaf is the first hijabi to appear on the cover of a U.S Fitness Magazine and was a Top Ten Finalist in the 2015 Runner’s World Cover search.

  • #10 Khadjou Samba, Surfer (@sambe_khadija):
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    Khadjou has spent years surfing, and is now training every day in hopes of representing her country, Senegal, at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics — inspiring a new generation of Senegalese girls to surf.

     

    Irum is a writer, photographer, and author of 'Nothing to Summit' - a collection of short essays on gaining strength, fighting against one's fears, falling, regaining hope, and ultimately finding inner peace before the cycle/climb begins again. She received her Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Michigan State University and is currently dabbling in several photojournalism and writing projects, while also working as a communications specialist.


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