We live in a world where Muslim women cannot take two steps without being told they are oppressed. Despite the awesome accomplishments of Muslim women across the globe, this stereotype is still pretty mainstream.
Cue Ibtihaj Muhammad’s entrance onto the world stage at this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
As an African-American Muslim woman who dons the hijab, Ibtihaj is more than aware of her significance at the Olympics. She has been celebrated in the news all week as the first American Muslim woman to compete in the Olympics while wearing hijab — and now she has something else to celebrate: Ibtihaj Muhammad has become the first hijabi American to win an Olympic medal.
Ibtihaj and her teammates, Mariel Zagunis and Dagmara Wozniak, defeated Italy in the team sabre finals earning them the Bronze medal. The last time the U.S. women’s fencing team won a medal was at the Beijing Olympic games in 2008.
Muhammad is a perfect example of how someone can be a practicing Muslim and devoted to her country. Her choice of the American flag image on her fencing mask demonstrates how proud she is to represent the United States.
She has accepted the recent buzz of media attention with grace and used the opportunity to highlight important issues affecting Muslims across the globe. She expresses her wish to “challenge the misconceptions people have about Muslim women” as well as responding perfectly to Trump’s immigration plans for Muslims.
Ibtihaj has made history as well as given Muslim women everywhere a reason to walk a little taller. She’s won an Olympic medal and our hearts as well.