A winner of British Muslim Awards, Hijab-clad basketball player Asma Elbadawi has become a role model for many Muslim women in Britain and elsewhere.
Asma who won the award in 2019 for Rising Star in Sports said, “We campaigned to FIFA to allow Muslim women to wear the hijab in professional basketball, which was a global campaign over two years, and we won in the end…. I try to play it (basketball) now, it’s a big hard with work, but I still try to play when I can.”
Hailing from a Sudanese background, Asma is a member of the Bradford Cobras basketball club, a grassroots team who has campaigned to lift a years-long ban on the wearing of hijab and other religious headgears in sports.
As a result of the campaign, the Basketball governing body, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), lifted the ban in 2014 and allowed players to wear Hijab and other religious headwear on the field.
“When I think about it, [when I was younger] I had assumed that because I hadn’t seen sportswomen wearing hijabs on TV that there was something against it in our religion,” Elbadawi says.
“I had assumed that women were expected to retain their modesty and playing sport didn’t align with that.”
Asma is determined to continue her role in encouraging young Muslim girls in sport as a coach, mentor and adviser.
“The challenge now will be in re-educating our community about the benefits of sport and what it means for a girl to be able to take part.”
An accomplished spoken word poet, the young Muslim basket player also won BBC Radio 1Xtra’s ‘Words First’ 2015 Competition.
She published recently on her Facebook account:
“I was told so many times in school that my interests in these subjects would lead to nowhere and if I didn’t put more effort into other subjects I would fail in life. But I trusted that Allah wouldn’t give me these gifts for no reason, so I continued pursuing them with the support of my parents and big brother…Alhmdullah for everything.”