November 29, 2023


Inspired by sport

Fitriya Mohamed Is Breaking Barriers & Ankles for Muslim Women in Sports

“When I was rising up I did not see a great deal even now in Toronto there are much more basketball leagues for Muslim ladies to take part in than I experienced,” states Fitriya Mohamed. “I fell in like with the activity and needed to get it a phase further more.”

It’s easy to underestimate the value in illustration since of the way its absence outcomes in more discreet, minuscule ripples that roll for a long time, but just think about it. 

If you, as an impressionable baby, do not see those people that present as you do on the media platforms you eat and engage in, you would likely come across it tricky to even fathom oneself in their position. Maybe you’d subconsciously settle for that since people like you aren’t collaborating, it will have to not be your position to join in. All much too generally, inclusion is dismissed as tokenism by individuals who come across it challenging to envision their favourite mediums featuring men and women and images in contrast to by themselves to other individuals, invisibility has been the lengthy-held standard. But for Mohamed, a Toronto-centered basketball participant, organizer, and educational, the common experience of refined exclusion of marginalized persons was turned into an unrelenting determination for cultivating visibility—a house for those like her to comfortably do what they like, and know that it’s Ok. 

“Just dependent on my expertise escalating up and actively playing basketball it was the cause why I preferred to generate a space for Muslim ladies,” she states.

Hijabi Ballers and ambassador Fitriya Mohamed
Image via Publicist

Mohamed’s appreciate for facilitating the inclusion of Muslim girls in activity, the identical inclusion that she’d skipped out on in her journey as an athlete, guides her local community involvement. An African Muslim myself, we arrived to a rapid knowing about the effects of not seeing all those that look like you participating in your pursuits, and the subsequent impact it can have on our objectives and self-esteem. Something that can be rather hard to establish and provide language to as children. So the natural way, she grew up feeling a travel to appropriate these blanks in representation as an adult turning into specifically what she when essential to see. 

An ambassador for the Hijabi Ballers (you may have noticed their superb adverts through Raptors online games featuring Nike hijabs), described on their web site as a undertaking that “..seeks to realize and celebrate the athleticism of Muslim ladies and women…we also get the job done to increase participation, and as a result representation, of Muslim ladies in activity spaces and sporting activities programs all-around the metropolis,” Fitriya Mohamed is really basically a university student of illustration.


“I imagine this is the precise type of illustration we require. Specifically in a time in which [Muslim women] are being challenged for wearing the hijab in numerous pieces of the entire world.”


Throughout our chat, I inquired about the particulars of the Master’s method she’d stated to me. “My Master’s is basically additional so focused on producing area for Muslim women of all ages in academia, so the investigation is on hijab-carrying Muslim athletes that are engaged in advocacy and activism. So in a way, myself. But there are so quite a few ladies out there performing equivalent work and I feel like in academia, Muslim women are not targeted on in these means. We wanna know ‘Why aren’t they included?’ without asking them.”

Mohamed seeks to understand how the dynamics in illustration exist outside of her far more privileged vantage issue in the Western planet too, likely on to describe her ambitions in even further comprehension what retains Muslim gals athletes excluded across the environment. How is it manifesting in the World wide South? Rather of thinking why Muslim women are reluctant to participate, why is there an unwillingness to accommodate their requirements in majorly Islamic locations way too? The concerns, curiosities, inquiries, discipline do the job, and responses Mohamed has accrued more than recent decades is for a crystal clear purpose way too. “Writing this thesis has been its individual entrepreneurial journey, genuinely.” 

Mohamed is on the lookout to pour in this prosperity of expertise into the basis and execution of the enthusiasm venture she founded—the Muslim Ladies Summertime Basketball League (MWSBL)—with complete precision. 

“In phrases of making our basis for our firm, we’ve been utilizing social media to truly share tales of girls hooping all-around the world. I imagine it goes again to my preliminary situation of not realizing that there are other Muslim females out there who are actively playing basketball and who are carrying out wonderful items in their communities. And so by the MWSBL sequence, it was awesome to spotlight these persons for the planet, and even to their very own communities. Some of them didn’t even know there were being Muslim women taking part in at a large stage in their have region.”

The league has been delayed thanks to the provincial restrictions imposed by the pandemic, but Mohamed expects to see it through soon—meanwhile, she’s employing her time to additional investigate the aforementioned themes via distinct avenues and platforms that appear her way. 

Only hrs just after I experienced completed up my job interview with Mohamed, scrolling TikTok at an ungodly hour, I was confronted with the haunting precision of the app’s algorithm. In an advertisement, I saw the lively summary illustrations of Hershey Canada’s ‘Her for She’ marketing campaign. Not only was it the ad, it was Mohamed’s concept, in which she narrated in excess of clips of herself playing the sport she enjoys

“I feel like street tradition is just ‘do you, and people will respect you due to the fact you’re remaining genuine to yourself.’ I want the league to be a beneficial representation for Muslim gals. I just want it to be really inspiring and empowering.”

Hershey Canada’s new marketing campaign is section of a world-wide initiative, highlighting five Canadians creating authentic alter in their community for females, girls, and non-binary people in vastly distinctive techniques. In honour of them, Toronto artist Gosia Komorski developed the packaging of the bars that element the faces of every single difference maker. The firm is also donating to and partnering with the NGO Girl Up.

“I think this is the exact type of representation we want,” reported Mohamed of the campaign. “Especially in a time where by [Muslim women] are getting challenged for putting on the hijab in many sections of the environment.” 

In the encounter of being forcibly othered, Mohamed chooses the correct opposite time and time again: to be found. 

“They’re are points Muslim females are going through just for their visibility. I imagine this marketing campaign is a way to rejoice them and drop a gentle on us all.”