If you’ve been following Ummahsonic for the past few months (which we’re sure you have), you’ll recall the pair of blogs we wrote about New Zealand rugby player Sonny Bill Williams. The All Blacks star is, as far as we know, the only Muslim in the professional game, so we thought it appropriate to hype up his excellent performances during the Lions tour back in June.
Unfortunately for Sonny Bill, he got sent off in the penultimate game for shoulder-checking a guy in the head (whoops!) but it did little to diminish his popularity or importance to the All Blacks team. A few weeks back, he was part of the New Zealand side that absolutely murked South Africa 57-0. Better still, his biggest fan was in the crowd: a fellow Muslim, rocking a custom All Blacks hijab:
— Russell Brown (@publicaddress) September 17, 2017
After the shots of the woman made their way around social media, people were intrigued as to who this hijabi was. Step forward, Rehana Ali.
Rehana is an All Blacks superfan from Auckland. She originally made her rugby hijab during the rugby world cup in 2011. After cutting the All Blacks logo off a beanie, Rehana stitched it onto a black hijab.
Speaking to Stuff, Rehana explained how it was important for Muslims to be visible and proud in a multicultural country like New Zealand: ‘I have a social life as well and being a Muslim shouldn’t make any difference. I am an individual just like you.’
Even if you have no interest in watching the All Blacks make a joke of their international competition, Rehana’s message to other Muslims in NZ was ‘don’t be shy to show your identity and wear your religion proudly,’ before adding, ‘We should all respect one another’s religion.’
It’s a great message, and certainly one that can be applied to people the world over, whether they’re rugby fans or not.
Rehana is also a fan of the way her fave player, Sonny Bill Williams, conducts himself: ‘I admire them all, but I admire the way he plays and he is a great role model for all Muslims.’
We couldn’t agree more.
After all, that red card we mentioned at the beginning was pretty harsh.