Nouhaila Benzina etched her name in history as she became the pioneer footballer to don a hijab during a World Cup match. Until 2014, the wearing of the hijab at the World Cup was prohibited due to health and safety reasons. While on the field last Sunday, Nouhaila Benzina, adorned in her hijab, challenged norms and set a path toward a more inclusive future in sports for Muslim women.
Shortly after Benzina’s match against South Korea at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, French journalist Philippe Guibert passed crude remarks about Benzina’s hijab. He referred to the hijab as “incredibly regressive.” Guibert claims that Benzina’s hijab suggests that the other players are “indecent” or “immodest.”
France has a history of Targeting Muslim Women
France is the only country that continues to uphold a hijab ban during sports matches. This comes as no surprise. France has a long-time history of being threatened by Muslim women’s choice of clothing. The French government and many of its citizens view the hijab or niqab as a representation of Islam which automatically threatens the secularism of the French nation.
In France, Muslim women are already subject to limitations regarding their attire in specific locations. The wearing of the burqa and niqab has been prohibited in public settings since April 2021. During this time, France’s National Assembly also proposed a bill to ban girls under 18 from wearing the hijab in public. This created outrage and sparked the social media movement #handsoffmyhijab.
France can hate all it wants on Muslim women adorning the hijab because it’s not going to stop us from making strides in ALL industries, whether it’s sports or fashion!
Nouhaila Benzina of Morocco is going to be remembered in history books as the woman who boldly donned a hijab and stepped onto the World Cup stage. In a thrilling match against South Korea, her team secured a resounding 1-0 victory which led them to become the first Arab or North African Country to advance to the knockout round of the Women’s World Cup. Haters can hate all they want about Muslim women and their hijabs, but it will never diminish the undeniable and unbeatable talent that Muslim hijabs possess!