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Post MWSN Summit reflections

May 12, 2018

Last weekend, May 4th to the 6th (2018), Muslim women in sport, across various sports industries, took over the internet to share their innovative journeys, contributions and lessons to the global audience. Discussion topics included sport for development, sports journalism, research, leadership and social entrepreneurship.

Day one’s sessions covered athlete activism where Asma Elbadawi and Assmaah Helal spoke about their contributions to overturning bans on religious headgear in FIBA and FIFA, along with the importance of the FIBA rule change for young girls who dream of playing basketball through Asma’s poem. We also heard from our keynote athlete activist, Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, about finding herself through the test of being banned from becoming a professional basketball player.

Day two we heard from sports for development activists Hajar Abulfazl, Fatuma Abdulkadir, Yasmeen Shabsough and Haneen Khatib on their journeys in sport to now inspiring and providing opportunities for future generations of women and girls to discover their love of sport. We also heard from Dana Abdulkarim and Aheda Zanetti on how innovation through sportswear design has challenged sports federations internationally to re-evaluate how inclusive their sport truly is.

The final day discussions addressed research on community projects and the lessons governing bodies of sport in the UK are learning to supply and demand. Lastly, the fantastic panel of leaders: Amna Karra-Hassan, Lina Khalid Almaeena and Hanna Fauzie who are each authentically paving the way for future generations of women and girls in sports leadership.

The MWSN is grateful for having been able to provide the speakers a platform to share their experiences, journey, and voices in a way that is true to them and reflect their ways of thinking. The platforms also allowed them to challenge one another in a safe way and find common ground to (re)invigorate, inspire others.

We will continue this journey since it means too much to us and our goal is to ensure every human being has the opportunity to realize their true potential and reach that potential. The end goal is worth too much.  It’s too precious to stop.

It was clear that it is vital to generate a pipeline of talent now that will continue to push for that end goal when the current generation is long gone. This summit also reminded us of the fact that this is a cross-generational issue of challenges with similar themes.  We are standing on the shoulders of those giants who have gone before us and one day people will lean on us and leverage what we did to take things to the next level.

We are grateful to all those who helped make this summit a reality. We are grateful for every single speaker who trusted us with their time and their voice. We do not take that ammanah (trust) lightly.  We are grateful for all our viewers, live and subsequently, who took so much interest in what we wanted to bring to them and trusted that it was worth hearing. We are grateful for our sisters in innovation and power at the Muslim Women in Sport Network.

From the dreams we had to make this a reality to those who said it would be difficult to do this, everyone knows we’ve now made it happen. This was about changing the script, the narrative, by empowering ourselves with a platform.

This is the beginning. This summit has shown what we’re capable of doing with minimal support and resource. This summit was exactly what we wanted it to be and we cannot wait to take our offerings to the next level so that we continue to advise, campaign and educate.