Rimla Akhtar MBE is the chair of the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation and the first Muslim woman to sit on the English Football Association council. She is also on the Forbes list of ‘the most powerful women in international sports in 2018’.
In 2005 she captained the British Muslim Women’s football team. Since an early age, she has been a sports fanatic and today she champions inclusivity in sports, particularly for women from ethnic minorities to participate in sports that take in to consideration religious and cultural sensitivities. In 2007, she was part of a team to help overturn FIFA’s ban on the hijab.
Rimla shares her story on how she was influenced in to sports via her older brothers, being the only girl playing football with them. She talks about her experiences of being part of sports teams, wearing the hijab and standing out in sporting events, and participating in a world record game in Jordan.
We discuss how young Muslim girls can be more involved in sports, how they can get support via the Muslim Women’s Sports Foundation, advice on ensuring your modesty whilst competing and the remarkable impact of the footballer, Mohamed Salah from Liverpool FC.
We really enjoyed talking to Rimla and seeing the increasing trend of more Muslims taking part in sports and having a positive impact. Mohammed Ali left a lasting legacy as the most recognised Muslim sportsman. Today there are many amazing Muslims in sports such as Ibtihaj Muhammad (American fencer), Sir Mo Farah (long distance runner), Moeen Ali (English cricketer) and Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand Rugby) player.