AUCKLAND – Photos of an Australian Muslim rugby fan donning an All Blacks “rugby hijab” captured attention in Saturday night’s All Blacks test match against South Africa, making it to the internet after media commentator Russell Brown shared them.
Two photos of the rugby fan at QBE Stadium were shared on Twitter by media commentator Russell Brown, with the caption “Noticed this last night and I still can’t tell whether it’s an #AllBlacks hijab or just a beanie and hoodie.”
Rehana Ali, the woman in the photo, responded to the tweet, saying she was “a great and loyal supporter of the All Blacks”.
— Russell Brown (@publicaddress) September 17, 2017
I got it made during last world cup rugby got it printed and stitched 🙂 just being a great and loyal supporter of all blacks
— Rehana (@Rehana09513616) September 17, 2017
The idea of a “rugby hijab” was suggested to her by her sons during the 2011 Rugby World Cup and Ali said she always wears it on game day, Stuff reported on Monday, September 18.
“My boys decided I am a big fan but there was one thing missing to my All Blacks outfit and thought it was a great idea to have my All Blacks hijab made up for me to wear on game days,” said Rehana Ali, who was spotted on camera celebrating a New Zealand try in the 57-0 rout of the Springboks last Saturday night.
She likes to watch the All Blacks whenever they play in Auckland, and Saturday night’s game was no different.
“It was thrilling. I had a lot of South Africa supporters around me so had great pleasure cheering on our boys.”
While she loves the entire team, her favorite player is fellow Muslim Sonny Bill Williams.
“I admire them all, but I admire the way he plays and he is a great role model for all Muslims.”
Ali said it was important for the Muslim community to come forward and share their identity in such a multi-cultural country as New Zealand.
“I have a social life as well and being a Muslim shouldn’t make any difference. I am an individual just like you,” she said.
She sent a special message to Muslims saying, “don’t be shy to show your identity and wear your religion proudly”.
“We should all respect one another’s religion.”