A flag football team took a stand against discrimination by donning hijabs in support of their Muslim teammate.
Members of the West Broward High School team wore the traditional Muslim headdress during the final game of their regular season in order to support their 17-year-old captain, Irum Khan, who has often been the victim of name-calling and racial slurs because of her faith, the Sun Sentinel reports.
Players wore the the colorful scarves while performing their pre-game warm-ups, though uniform regulations forced them to remove the headdresses before hitting the field.
The gesture opened the eyes of teammates like senior Marilyn Solorzano, who said she admired Kham for sticking to her beliefs.
“Everybody looked at us weird,” Solorzano told the Sun Sentinel. “I understand now everything she went through and how hard it must have been. We just wore it for one day, and we noticed the difference.”
Visit the Sun Sentinel online to read the full story on Irum Khan and her teammates.
Muhammad, who is competing for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team, said she believes a person’s faith or race does not dictate her future.
“I think my motto in this whole experience is that sports is something you can do in hijab, and you shouldn’t let your faith compromise how athletically gifted you become,” Muhammad told HuffPost blogger Laura Tillman.
If successful, Muhammad could be the first U.S. athlete to wear a hijab in the Olympics.
In the past, the hijab has been a topic of controversy in sports, such as soccer, where top organizations have banned women from wearing the traditional headscarf during play.
The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), however, is now considering the allowance of custom-made “sports hijabs” that are fitted to athletes, the QMI Agency reports.
Similarly, Caroline De Lazzer, coach of the UAE women’s jiu-jitsu team, is taking a stand against regulations that prohibit women from participating in international competitions while wearing the hijab, the National reports.
Unlike the organization in the UAE, the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) currently doesn’t allow women to participate in competitions while wearing the headdress.
De Lazzer asks that women be able to wear the sports hijabs and cites other sports that allow the garment.
“The headscarf is permitted and worn without incident in several competitive sports including taekwondo, an Olympic sport,” De Lazzer told the National. “Even [FIFA] are rethinking lifting the ban on the headscarf, so I am very hopeful we will receive a [favorable] response.”
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Irum Khan as Irum Kham.