For the past couple of years, we’ve profiled a huge number of female Muslim athletes.
We’re talking boxers, figure skaters, an all-women’s basketball team, and more than one fencer. In fact, that last sport seems to be one of the most talked about disciplines when it comes to Muslim-women-excelling-in-sport territory, largely thanks to hijab-wearing US Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad.
The success of Muhammad may explain why a new initiative is encouraging Muslim girls to get into this specific sport. Muslim Girls Fence is a collaboration between Maslaha, a UK Muslim charity, and British Fencing, that aims to empower young Muslim women through fencing while challenging the misconceptions they face.
The goal of Muslim Girls Fence is to raise aspirations among a group who are very often the primary target of Islamophobia. Through fencing, they can boost their confidence while dispelling harmful stereotypes about women and Islam.
Don’t worry. We do hear the people at the back asking the same question: “But why fencing?”
Interestingly, much of it comes down to practicality. Fencing is often seen as a more comfortable sport for Muslim women to get in to due to the full coverage of its uniform. Muhammad herself has even explained how she liked fencing compared to other sports because she could wear the same kit as everyone else, making her truly feel “like part of the team”.
On top of this, fencing is a highly technical sport that builds confidence, discipline and power (and it involves three different types of sword, so there’s that).
To mark the release, Muslim Girls Fence released a short featuring two young fencers, Sarah and Seher, talking about the sport, their friendship and the obstacles they’ve faced as young Muslim women. It’s a great watch, and we feel empowered just to know that this insightful, intelligent duo are taking part in the initiative.
For more information about Muslim Girls Fence, head to the website.