Ibtihaj Muhammad, an African American Olympic fencer, will make history today as the first American to wear a hijab during her sport. She was recognized as one of Time magazine’s Most Influential People of 2016, and she’s using her newfound fame as an opportunity to take down Trump.
Since starting with the Olympic team Muhammad has taken advantage of her success by using her new platform to advocate for the acceptance of Muslims in America.
Muhammad hopes that her voice can bring unity to a country divided. Since starting with the Olympic team, she has been a vocal advocate for the acceptance of Muslims in America, and an outspoken critic of the GOP presidential nominee’s divisive rhetoric.
“I’m hopeful that, in my efforts to represent our country well as an athlete—that they can change the rhetoric around how people think and perceive the Muslim community.”
Her message of acceptance is an important counterbalance to Trump’s call for a blanket ban on Muslims entering the country. In February, Muhammad called out Trump for “providing a platform for hate speech and fear mongering” and “creating a space where it’s acceptable to speak out against immigrants, to speak out against Muslims and to really publicize this inherent racism a lot of people have.’ When asked about Trump in a recent CNN interview, Muhammad attacked his divisive, hateful rhetoric directly:
“I think his words are very dangerous. 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. My family was born here. I was born here. I’ve grown up in Jersey. All my family’s from Jersey. It’s like, well, where do we go?”