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Muslim girls showcase basketball skills at Memphis camp without dress restrictions

MEMPHIS, Tennessee – A lively and lovely scene was played out on a basketball court in Memphis, a city on the Mississippi River in southwest Tennessee, South America, reports Muslim Network News on September 8.

No fewer than 50 girls, their jerseys emblazoned with the words Muslimah baller, showed their enthusiasm for the sport.

Although all are Muslim and many cover their arms and legs for modesty reasons, some wear the hijab, the traditional headscarf. They came from all over North America, even from as far away as the United Arab Emirates.

They had gathered to participate in a unique camp called “Hooping in Faith,” led by Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, a 32-year-old former Division I basketball player. She caused a stir in 2010 when she became the first woman to wear a hijab to play top-level college basketball.

Her professional ambitions were put on hold, however, when FIBA, basketball’s world governing body, barred her because of her religious attire. Still, Abdul-Qaadir persevered and in 2015 founded a nonprofit organization called Muslim Girls Ball Too.

Hooping in Faith is not only a camp, but also a platform where she shares her wisdom as a Black Muslim athlete, taking on different roles, from coach to mentor.

Hooping in Faith participants range in age from 12 to 26 and form a unique sisterhood.

In 2022, Nouhaila Benzina of Morocco wore a hijab for the first time at the World Championships.

At the conclusion of the camp, Abdul-Qaadir shared her joy with the players to see them play without restrictions.

Khadija Jatta, a 12-year-old participant from Memphis, was happy to meet peers who share her passion. She said she learned at the camp to refute critics who believe the stereotype that women cannot play basketball is false.

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