A Muslim mother of four who teaches kickboxing to females to defend themselves has received honor from the Queen for diversity and inclusion.
Khadijah Safari was awarded British Empire Medal (BEM) in this year’s New Year’s Honors List for her hands-on contribution to diversity and inclusion in martial arts.
Earlier this month, she was presented with the medal by the Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, Countess Elizabeth Howe.
Today I was officially awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for Diversity & Inclusion in Martial Arts.
The journey would never have brought me to where I’m at now without the fantastic support around me. Thank you! @MarkOrmerod1 @Leap_BMK @Sport_England @SportingHer pic.twitter.com/ebzTtrwSk7
— Khadijah Safari BEM (@KhadijahSafari) May 3, 2022
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Khadijah owns MK’s Safari Health Hub and Safari MMA which she founded a decade ago to teach women how to defend themselves.
“Women from all different backgrounds, cultures and socio-economic groups came together. Labels were left at the door and for once true equality was seen,” her spokesman said, MK Citizen reported.
Converting to Islam in 2009 at the age of 27, Safari married the man she was designing a martial arts website for the following year. Later on, the pair decided to set up a business together.
Today, the Hijabi Muslim who has a black belt in kickboxing runs 10 more training locations throughout Milton Keynes, Birmingham, and London, making a name for herself as a Muslim woman doing martial arts.
“It was baffling to Khadijah as she had grown up as a ‘British majority’ and was suddenly being seen as an ‘ethnic minority’. She had no idea that women from different cultures were so disconnected from even with the thought of doing sport, let alone actually participating in it,” the spokesman said.
“She led successful advocacy campaigns and communications, so the right conversations were being had, not just to speak to individuals but to generations of misguided cultural beliefs. If you can change the mindset of the older generation, then you can lay a pathway for the younger ones to walk proudly with their sporting achievements.”
Self-defense classes for Muslim women made headlines after Rana Abdelhamid, a young American Muslim, started an initiative for self-empowering vulnerable young Muslim women.
In Canada, Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council (AMPAC) organized in 2016 a safety workshop for Muslim women.