Rio Olympics: Ibtihaj Muhammad Is America’s Olympic Game Changer

“The 2016 Olympics in Rio has a lot to live up to, especially where Muslim women are concerned. The 2012 Games marked the first Olympics where women participated in all 26 sports. And they were also the first time Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei entered women athletes. All in all, several Muslim women stood out as hopefuls, and they received international coverage; Afghan runner Tahmina Kohistani was the only woman from Afghanistan at the 2012 London Olympics. Zahra Lari was the first figure skater from the United Arab Emirates to compete in an international competition in 2012 when she performed at Italy’s European Cup – she was also the first figure skater to compete at that level while wearing a hijab. Kulsoom Abdullah, a Pakistani-American weightlifter, was the first person ever to compete in the sport internationally while wearing a hijab. In 2012, judo fighter Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkani became the first Saudi woman ever to compete in the Olympics (the match wasn’t broadcast in Saudi Arabia, where her participation was forbidden). And Shinoona Salah al-Habsi was one of only four Omani athletes to compete in the London Olympics in 2012.”

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