Fatimah Hussein Is America's Sports Hijab Pioneer

July 5, 2018

Featured on Outside Online

It was an unremarkable game. Two teams, a cheering crowd, squeaking sneakers, the whistle, and the jump ball—just as always. But something set this game apart, something that most people wouldn’t even have noticed: One of the players, determined not to be restricted, had decided to remove her hijab.


The inconvenience of the prone-to-unraveling hijab was a common complaint in the Brian Coyle Community Center, in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis. The center’s biweekly basketball practice attracted Muslim girls ages seven to 18 from across the city, and it brought out a determination to win that coach Fatimah Hussein had not anticipated. Her standout players were not going to let anything stop them. “I’ve seen girls building their confidence, loving the sport, wanting to play. I’ve seen the hunger of just winning and getting accepted,” Hussein says. “But there was one thing hanging there—the hijab.”


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