Coming from a highly oppressive culture, Hijab Muhammad came to the Olympics wanting to show the world that Muslim women can excel in sports. Raised in new Jersey, Muhammad grabbed the medias attention as the first U.S. Olympian to wear a hijab during competition. Her mother encouraged her in Jr. High to start fencing because she said it’s the only sport where her hijab goes with the uniform. Muhammad said that “This is sport. It doesn’t matter what hair color you have, or what religion you are. The point is to go out there and be the best athlete you can be,”
Muhammad said that she remembered being told as a kid that there were things she couldn’t do. She said being a girl or ‘African American’ or Moslem held stereotypes that promised to hold her back in New Jersey. If there is one thing that her story proves, is how wrong she is and how many opportunities America does provide for all Americans. To be fair to Muhammad, she does come from a culture where a woman as strong and independent as her could likely be killed or stoned to death for being so outspoken and educated.
In an interview with NBC Sports Sunday, Muhammad expressed the desire that her story would help to break down harmful “stereotypes and misconceptions” about Muslims that exist in her country. Again pointing to her successes but downing the American culture that made her success possible she said that , “In light of the rhetoric surrounding the Muslim community, I think that is step in the right direction”.
If a ‘step in the right’ direction means using the platform to speak out against ‘cultural norms’ like muslim extremists or Sharia laws that prevent women independence and equality, then I say; You Go Girl! If step in the right direction’ means that woman and blacks had a success because Muhammad won a bronze, then I say; Uhhh Women and blacks have been kicking butt in the Olympics since it started babe, in individuals and in gold.
Some of the comments on this story from the BLAZE were interesting: