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PodcastSportsWomen

Creating Space for Muslim Women in Sports (Podcast)

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PodcastSportsWomen

Creating Space for Muslim Women in Sports (Podcast)

As the first Muslim, first female, and first hijabi FA Counsellor, Akhtar has broken the glass ceiling on so many levels – and while remaining humble, she explains that the need for diversity in sports remains more important than ever.

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As the first Muslim, first female, and first hijabi FA Counsellor, Akhtar has broken the glass ceiling on so many levels – and while remaining humble, she explains that the need for diversity in sports remains more important than ever.

On this week’s TMV Podcast, Chief Editor Salim Kassam and Husam Al-Deen speak to Rimla Akhtar, a Football Association Counsellor and Rugby League board member on women in sports, the need for more diversity, and the controversy around FIFA’s previous hijab ban.

To listen to the full podcast, click below:

Explaining that since a young age her interest in sports were almost a natural instinct for her, Akhtar believes that it was a natural process for her to gradually go into a career of sports. Being able to slowly engage with the sports community, after getting involved as a board and community level member for football, she was eventually elected to the Football Association as a Counsellor.

I was told I was ruining my career, but it was more important for me that I have fun…the sports field for me was where I felt the color of my skin or piece of cloth I wore on my head didn’t seem to matter.”

As the first Muslim, first female, and first hijabi FA Counsellor, Akhtar has broken the glass ceiling on so many levels – and while remaining humble, she explains that the need for diversity in sports remains more important than ever.

Fighting discrimination is a daily battle according to Akhtar, most notably when she fought to overturn the FIFA ban on hijab that ran from 2007 to 2014. Believing that the more people pushed back on discriminating bans such as the one that targeted hijab, more girls will feel included to be a part of the sports scene.

Considering thousands of us across the world have played with hijab, I found it interesting that one referee could decide it was unsafe…Efforts to combat racism can never be enough, as long as there is still one incident of it happening.”

Believing strongly in the ability of football and other sports to do more good than harm, Akhtar further explains that the racism seen in places such as the football field are only small reflections of what is happening on a wider scale in general society. She believes, however, that with the inclusion of more women in sports, we can slowly start to see the change needed in our world today.

To listen to the full podcast, click below:

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