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Olympic bronze medalist fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.
  • Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first American Muslim to wear a hijab veil during Olympic competition
  • Maplewood, a community of 24,000 people about 18½ miles (30 kilometers) west of New York City, honored her on “Ibti Day” with a parade
  • The young fencer said she hoped to serve as a role model for people who feel limited by some aspect of who they are

NEW JERSEY, September 10, 2016: Hundreds of people in Maplewood, New Jersey, turned out Saturday to honor Olympic bronze medalist fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first American Muslim to wear a hijab veil during Olympic competition.

“I never felt different here,” the 31-year-old daughter of a police detective and a teacher said of her hometown. Maplewood, a community of 24,000 people about 18½ miles (30 kilometers) west of New York City, honored her on “Ibti Day” with a parade and other festivities.


Wearing her bronze medal over an Olympic T-shirt, Muhammad told her fans: “Even in those moments when I’m on the road and I’m fencing and I was told that I didn’t belong, or that I shouldn’t fence because I was a girl, or because I was black, or because I was a Muslim, I want everyone to know that I never felt that here at home.

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“It was an honor not to just represent our town and our state and the United States, but to represent a whole community that has always believed in me and my abilities,” she said.

The young fencer said she hoped to serve as a role model for people who feel limited by some aspect of who they are.

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Muhammad won the bronze in the team saber event last month in Rio de Janeiro. She has used her growing popularity since then to insist that a Muslim woman in a hijab can represent the United States as well as anyone else. (VOA)


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