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Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad is making quite the impression during her first day of competition in Rio: Not only did she win her first event, but she received a celebratory tweet from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Clinton’s shout-out called attention to the fact that “Muhammad became the first American Muslim athlete to compete while wearing a hijab.”
A hijab is a scarf covering the head and chest worn by many Muslim women. The garment has broader societal connotations in the Muslim religion and has been the object of bans and legal restrictions in several European countries, including France and Belgium.
Muhammad also engaged with Republican nominee Donald Trump last week during an interview with CNN in which she called his political rhetoric “dangerous” and rebuffed his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.
“When these types of comments are made, no one thinks about how they really affect people. I’m African American. I don’t have another home to go to,” Muhammad said.
Muhammad defeated Ukraine’s Elena Kravatska in women’s individual sabre in the round of 32 before losing to Cecilia Berder of France in the round of 16.
Muhammad went to Duke University, where she was a three-time All American. She was the 2005 Junior Olympic champion and also serves on the U.S. Department of State’s Empowering Women and Girls Through Sport program.
In Rio, Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first American Muslim athlete to compete while wearing a hijab. pic.twitter.com/OrRSHnH2Ra
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 8, 2016
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