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6 Muslim Women who are Making History in Hijab

Shayma Abdirizak


Ibtihaj Mohammed


In 2016, Ibtihaj became the first American woman to compete in the Olympics in hijab as well as the first female Muslim-American to win a Bronze medal at fencing. Ibtihaj has been a member of the United States National Fencing Team since 2010. As of 2017, she ranks No. 2 in the United States and No. 7 in the world.



Zahra Lari


Zahra Lari, is an Emirati figure skater and the first figure skater from the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East to compete internationally and the first to compete in hijab. Lari is a five-time Emirati National Champion and has beaten the odds and achieved the highest level in spins, technique and triple jumps. She is also the Co-Founder and CEO of Emirates Skating Club, which is the first established figure skating club in the country. 



Halima Aden


Halima Aden, the Somali-American fashion model, was noted for being the first woman to wear the hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, where she was a semi-finalist. She was then signed onto a major modelling agency, from which point her modelling career took off. Since then, Aden became the first hijab-wearing model to walk international runways and to be signed to a major agency. Halima originally made her debut at the New York Fashion Week in 2017. She also became the first hijab-wearing model on the cover of Vogue Arabia, Allure and British Vogue. However, in 2020, Halima took a stand to quit modelling on the basis that it compromised her religious beliefs. 

Stephanie Kurlow 


Stephanie Kurlow is an Australian dancer and ballet student and also credited as the first hijab wearing ballerina. She began ballet dancing from the age of two, however, her family did not convert to Islam until she was of eight years and when she was eleven she took up wearing the hijab full-time. Stephanie was determined to respect her faith, however, her move to keep wearing her hijab and dress modestly was not welcomed by any of the dance studios she attended - citing that it wasn’t class uniform. 

She eventually gave up dancing for a number of years but her mother was determined for her daughter to be able to follow her passions, so opened up a studio specifically catering to people of different faiths and ethnic minorities. It’s been over 10 years since the studio was set up and it still continues to operate today in Sydney, becoming a safe space for many young girls that felt excluded or discriminated against.



Fatima Manji


Fatima Manji is an English television journalist and newsreader. She works for Channel 4 News and became Britain's first hijab-wearing TV newsreader in March 2016. She originally joined Channel 4 News as a reporter and then became a newsreader in March 2016. Channel 4 News were commended for pioneering this move, since a mere 0.4% of British journalists are Muslim. 

Asma Al Badawi


Asma Al Badawi is a Sudanese-British spoken word poet, activist, basketball player and a coach. She is known to have petitioned and succeeded in convincing the International Basketball Association (FIBA) to remove a ban on hijabs and religious headwear in the professional sport. In 2017, she petitioned the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) to remove their ban on religious headwear on the court. After over two years of campaigning to FIBA, she and her friends succeeded in getting 130,000 people to sign an online petition, and that resulted in the FIBA reversing their decision.