Muslim Women in the Olympics; More than Hijab and Medals
August 25, 2016Sara Ahmad Egypt
Muslim women are not new to the Olympic Games as they have always participated and competed fiercely in the games, however, their presence this year is probably more obvious as more Muslim women athletes chose to wear their Hijab during the competitions.
Ibtihaj Mohammed competing in fencing made the record of being the first American Muslim woman to compete with hijab, also Egyptian beach volley team also were the first to compete with hijab on in this game. Sara Samir Ahmed, is 18 years old Egyptian weight lifter who won bronze, she is probably the youngest of all Muslim women with hijab in the Games along with Hedaya Wahba, who earned her bronze in taekwondo are among those who competed in the Olympics with their Hijab. Dalilah Mohammed is another American Muslim women athlete won the Olympic medal in 400 m running in track and field, though not wearing a hijab but is the first
Muslim woman to win this medal While it looks very normal to see women athletes with full body cover practicing and competing in Muslim countries it is very new to the Olympics. Other Muslim women participants who earned medals in the games are Patimat Abakarova, Azerbaijan, taekwondo, Ines Boubakri, Tunisia, fencing, Marwa Amri, Tunisia, wrestling, Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin, Iran, taekwondo, Sri Wahyuni Agustiani, Indonesia, weightlifting and many others.
I believe it meets one of the objectives of the Olympic Games which is to celebrate all cultures and differences while competing in sports. Additionally it shows that it is about the athletic standards of each kind of sport more than who is competing. This is an open competition and winning is for the more professional and ready to earn the title. However participating in the games is not only about winning, it is rather about exerting your best to represent your country and join the international community, some may not win today but at least they show that they are qualified to compete and there may be more chances in the future. it also may help eradicate one of the main misconception and stereotyping against Muslim women that they are oppressed and denied equal opportunities in their countries because of their religion. While this may be true in some cases, international gatherings like the Olympics may help increasing the awareness of opening more doors for women and whether Muslims or not.
Far beyond the Hijab, the message of diversity and inclusion of the Olympic games. We are looking forward to more inclusion and diversity and probably more representation of different cultures in the coming Olympics.