In his landmark speech on Wednesday about religious tolerance and the Muslim community, President Obama referenced Ibtihaj Muhammad, a female American saber fencer who will make history at this year’s 2016 Rio Games by becoming the first U.S. athlete to compete at the Olympics in a hijab (Muslim headscarf). Ms. Muhammad, 30, recently sealed her spot on the Olympic team after receiving a bronze medal at the Athens World Cup. She stands in second place on the U.S. fencing national team.
Ms. Muhammad recently commented, “At any point I could have stopped fencing and said ‘you know what these people are right, this isn’t something I should do’ and I was blessed to have parents that encouraged me to be involved in sports and to try to fight those stereotypes.”
“I want to compete in the Olympics for the United States to prove that nothing should hinder anyone from reaching their goals — not race, religion or gender,” said Ms. Muhammad.