Student Highlights Female Muslim Sports Achievements

EDMONTON, Alberta – A Muslim student at the University of Alberta, Canada, has been awarded a stipend to work during summer on her research project on the participation of Muslim women in sports, correcting misconceptions about them.

“I noticed that in mega (sporting) events and in smaller events there aren’t many Muslim women who participate,” Sauleha Farooq, a third-year Biological Sciences major and Women and Gender Studies minor, told The Gateway, the official student newspaper at the University of Alberta, on Thursday, May 18.

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“I wanted to know why there was a low number of participation and a low representation in lots of different areas.”

Because of her injury-prone, Farooq cannot play soccer anymore. Therefore, the young Muslim woman decided to take up jiu-jitsu as her new favorite sport.

She has also competed in gymnastics, swimming, and fencing.

“I like jiu-jitsu because I’m really bad at it and I want to learn how to do it more,” Farooq said.

“But I really like soccer. It’s my go-to.”

Working on her research on Muslim women in sports, she was awarded a $5,000 Undergraduate Research Initiative stipend to spend the summer working on her project.

Farooq began her research in mid-May, paying attention currently to women in martial arts.

“Martial arts has become a venue for lots of women,” she said.

“It’s hard to find other sports where there are so many classes just for women. Type in ‘women’s kickboxing classes’ and there’s a ton of classes.”

Farooq hopes to change stereotypes about Muslim women and “the stereotypes Muslim women have about themselves.”