The Face of Change

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When people think of an American Olympic athlete, they probably don’t picture someone who looks like me. Black. Muslim.

A first.

But once I put my fencing mask on, I’m seen only as an athlete. That is and always has been empowering for me. My skin, my religion, my gender — those don’t define me.

I realize the importance of being the first Muslim woman to compete for Team USA. I am an image of change.

“When people think about an american olympic athlete they probably don’t picture someone that looks like me.”

Ibtihaj shares her pride in representing her heritage on a world stage. (0:20)

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Ibtihaj Muhammad poses for a portrait at Canoe Studios in New York City, New York on March 3, 2016. (Photo by Lynn Johnson/The Players' Tribune)

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“Fencing was this unique opportunity to look like my teammates”

Ibtihaj finds her place in the sport. (0:25)

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“In this country you are always being challenged for who you are.”

Ibtihaj discusses her perspective on facing biases in life outside of fencing. (1:04)

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“My experiences in this sport are for that 12-year-old kid being told they don’t belong because they are Black or Muslim.”

Ibtihaj shares her thoughts on the importance of diverse representation in fencing. (0:54)

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Faizah Muhammad, the younger sister of Ibtihaj, herself a highly ranked fencer, celebrated her marriage to Adam TK this evening with family and friends. Ibtihaj was a doting older sister constantly fixing Faizah's veil, fussing over her dress and keeping her hijab from slipping. The evening was punctuated with traditional dancing with swords and selfies galore. During the entire evenings festivities both women were very modest, almost shy in their behavior.

Faizah Muhammad, the younger sister of Ibtihaj, herself a highly ranked fencer, celebrated her marriage to Adam TK this evening with family and friends. Ibtihaj was a doting older sister constantly fixing Faizah's veil, fussing over her dress and keeping her hijab from slipping. The evening was punctuated with traditional dancing with swords and selfies galore. During the entire evenings festivities both women were very modest, almost shy in their behavior.

Faizah Muhammad, the younger sister of Ibtihaj, herself a highly ranked fencer, celebrated her marriage to Adam TK this evening with family and friends. Ibtihaj was a doting older sister constantly fixing Faizah's veil, fussing over her dress and keeping her hijab from slipping. The evening was punctuated with traditional dancing with swords and selfies galore. During the entire evenings festivities both women were very modest, almost shy in their behavior.Faizah Muhammad, the younger sister of Ibtihaj, herself a highly ranked fencer, celebrated her marriage to Adam TK this evening with family and friends. Ibtihaj was a doting older sister constantly fixing Faizah's veil, fussing over her dress and keeping her hijab from slipping. The evening was punctuated with traditional dancing with swords and selfies galore. During the entire evenings festivities both women were very modest, almost shy in their behavior.

 

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