American Muslim Fencer ‘Doesn’t Feel Safe’ Thanks To Anti-Muslim Sentiment


An American-born Muslim representing the USA at the Olympics in Rio says she does not feel safe in America, thanks to the rhetoric and vitriol that has taken over our political discourse.

Thanks to the disgusting rhetoric that has taken over the political discourse in America, segments of our society live in fear. They live in fear in a nation that purports to be an example of freedom to the rest of the world. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the all-important, freedom of religion – to practice your religion freely in a country that will protect that right.

Ibtihaj Muhammad doesn’t feel that she is free to practice her religion in this country however. She is currently in Rio de Janeiro preparing to represent the U.S. in sabre fencing. She is ranked eighth in the world and is gearing up for her first Olympic competition after missing the 2012 London games because of an injured hand.

She’s an American Muslim fencer, who is the country’s first Olympian to wear a hijab,  and she says she does not feel safe in the U.S. due to the increased anti-Muslim rhetoric.

“[I feel unsafe] all the time. I had someone follow me home from practice and try to report me to police,” she told the “Daily Beast” in an interview. “And this is right on 28th and 7th in New York City.

I’m very vocal about these things because I want people to know I’m not a novelty, I’m not special in any way. I’m a woman who wears hijab and these are my experiences.

Muhammad was born in New Jersey and sees the US as being at a point where it needs to change its dialogue. Incidents like Donald Trump’s recent dig at a Muslim couple who spoke at the Democrat National Conference about their son who died in action fighting for the U.S.

“I want people to know that as hard as [these incidents] are on me, they don’t come even close to things we’ve seen like the shooting in North Carolina or the rhetoric around the Khan family at the DNC. It’s ridiculous and we as a country have to change and I feel like this is our moment,” Muhammed said.

There’s our country, folks. One in which people who are born here, fight for it, work in it, compete for it, and die for it are hated and vilified because of the religion they practice. Exactly what the people who came here and fought here, hundreds of years ago were escaping from and hoping would never happen.

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Richard Zombeck

Richard Zombeck is a freelance writer, featured blogger at Huffington Post, and co-host of the T&Z Talk Podcast.

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