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Denver Muslim Women Learn How to Be Strong & Safe

  • Due to concerns about Islamophobia, many women are making their mission to empower Muslim women to defend themselves.
  • Kulsoom Abdullah, a weightlifting athlete, offers training to Denver Muslim women.

Seeking to provide a space for women to feel empowered against growing anti-Muslim sentiments, a self-defense class was held Sunday at Endorphin Gym in Denver, Colorado.

The class by Kulsoom Abdullah, a Pakistani-American who was the first woman to participate in the world weightlifting championship for Pakistan, came as Muslim women faced more threats since the eruption of the Gaza war on October 7.

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“In our faith, we believe our body is an amana. A trust to be taken care of,” Saddyna Belmashkan, one of those attending the class, told CBS News.

On Sunday class, Saddyna and other Muslim women learned basic self-defense to go along with their newfound strength, in case someone attacks them and need to escape.

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Kulsoom Abdullah hopes the classes will help women weather the storm of hatred they see rising in America.

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“You’re going to be carrying yourself differently, and that body language in and of itself makes you less of a victim,” said Abdullah.

“You aren’t Jackie Chan. Do not fight. Just fight back enough to run away.”

Same as Abdullah, due to concerns about Islamophobia, many women are making their mission to empower Muslim women to defend themselves against anti-Muslim terrorism and harassment — on the street and in the workplace.

These classes help fill a need for Muslim women who may feel especially vulnerable in the current political and social climate.