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Fencer With Headscarf Is a Cut Above the Rest

Olympic hopeful Ibtihaj Muhammad will compete this weekend.

Fencer With Headscarf Is a Cut Above the Rest

By AIMEE BERG

When Ibtihaj Muhammad fastens her headscarf, or hijab, around her chin, one of its purposes is to deflect unwanted attention.

But when she wears a hijab in a sporting arena, it often has the opposite effect.

The New Jersey native is currently ranked 11th in the world in women’s sabre, a discipline of fencing. Only one American ranks higher: Mariel Zagunis, the two-time Olympic and world champion.

Both women will compete this weekend at a World Cup fencing event at the New York Athletic Club to earn points toward qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic Committee do not track athletes’ religion, but if Muhammad makes the Olympic team, she would likely be the first practicing Muslim woman to represent the U.S. at the Games.

When she competes, photographers often zoom in on the name Muhammad on the back of her fencing jacket. Her mother, Denise, recently saw such a photo and said, “I realized: my God, she’s representing all of us.

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  • AHMED K

    @elli,
    what’s the obsession about a Muslim woman covering her hair and wearing loose fitting clothing, so that her shape is not shown?
    if a Muslim woman chooses to do so, why are you so upset about it.
    you also cover some parts of you body; don’t you? or do you walk around naked? the Muslim woman covering her hair is using the same principle that you use in covering some parts of your body!

  • http://aayjay.wordpress.com AJ

    elli, unless you are a nudist, I can question why you are covering some parts of your body and not others or what type of underwear you wear under your pants (equivalent to your concerns of what Ibtihaj wears under her fencing helmet) but since I follow the golden rule of “none of my business”, I won’t pose that question.

  • Solid Snake

    Lol @elli

  • Skhan

    @ elli: we have gone over the purpose of the hijab. We have answered your questions and concerns. If you keep posing the same question, we will ignore you.

  • elli

    If a woman has really short hair, does she have to cover it with hijab? Many women cut their hair to do sports, they don’t run out on the field or court in a grand coiffure.

    Is God smiting the Pak women?

    I bet bald women would really distract the other team.

  • http://aayjay.wordpress.com AJ

    elli Says:
    August 1st, 2011 at 5:40 pm
    “I am serious. It would get around the problem of being thrown out of competition for wearing hijab and after the season they can grow their hair back. Just wear extremely short hair.”

    elli why would it matter to you or anyone else what Ibtihaj does to her hair UNDER her fencing helmet?

  • Skhan

    @Zabar: by oppression, tumult, and persecution, the verse is referring to the violent methods of torture enacted upon Muhammad (pbuh) and his early followers. Because the Arab polytheists of Muhammad’s got rich off of supplying provisions to people who came to worship their idols, when Muhammad (pbuh) began to speak out against idol worship, they feared they would lose their business. So, they began to prey on Muhammad’s followers. Here are just a few cases of this torture:

    “Those who were weak, poor or slaves were publicly tortured. The Muslims from well-to-do families were physically restrained in their homes with the condition that if they recant they will be allowed freedom of movement.

    The first person to die by this means was a Muslim women by the name Umm Ammar.

    A muslim man Bilal was laid flat on his back on hot sand. A hot heavy stone was placed on his chest and he was beaten while his hands were tied behind his back.

    A muslim man Usman was tied up with ropes by his uncle and beaten and tortured.

    Abu Jahl beated a muslim woman Zaeerah in such a way that she became totally blind.

    A muslim man Khabbab-bin-Aett was pushed into a fire.

    One day Abu Jahl, an enemy of Islam, attacked Prophet Muhammad while he was resting near the hills of Safaa. Abu Jahl threw a stone and wounded him on his head. Muhammad went home bleeding a lot.”

    Muhammad (pbuh) allowed his physically weak followers to flee to the Kingdom of Abyssinia. When the pagans came for Muhammad (pbuh), he and the rest of his followers who were left in Makkah fled to the city of Yathrib (later renamed Medina). When they had fled, the pagans confiscated the Muslims’ property. Two years later, because of this verse, the Muslims had the permission of God to

    “Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loves not transgressors. And slay them wherever you catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter… But if they cease, God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful… If they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression” (2:190-193).

    For this reason, because the pagans had attacked Muhammad (pbuh) and his followers in the first place, they were allowed to fight back in self defense. Hope this answered your question.

    peace.

  • Danios

    @ Zabar:

    I will be completing the Understanding Jihad Series and will answer that question therein. It’s just a matter of getting time from my full-time j-o-b to write. I’m not paid to blog like Robert Spencer. I have a real job.

  • Zabar

    “Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loves not transgressors. And slay them wherever you catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter… But if they cease, God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful… If they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression” (2:190-193).

    This verse clearly says that fighting is only allowed when you have been attacked, persecuted, etc. It also says that if the oppressors/aggressors cease fighting, then we are to make peace with them, for “God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful”.

    So what is the Islamic definition of “oppression”, “tumult”, and “persecution”? And what is the definition of “ceasing to fight”?

    Just curious that’s all.

  • Khaled

    lol @ elli, I mean seriously

  • safak

    @elli

    So your advice is that they should just shave off their hair?? Brilliant idea, I wonder why nobody ever thought of it before? Oh wait, maybe because its RIDICULOUS!??

    Its her right to wear a hijab for whatever reason she wants. You might not like it, but you cannot stop it.

  • Skhan

    @elli: i think tight fitting, revealing clothes would arouse more “curiousity”. As for frustration, i guess the hijab just turns men off…XD!!!!!!!!!!

  • elli

    These customs give too much importance to hair, an interesting substance, but if you meet a very beautiful person of either sex, you will judge them on their personality, character, morals etc. very shortly.

    I would think these wrappings and veilings arouse curiosity and frustration in men.

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