Ibtihaj Muhammad, the hijab-clad fencer and a role model for many young Muslim girls, tweaked Donald Trump’s nose at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, according to website NJ.com. Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad was born and raised in Maplewood, New Jersey. A devout Muslim, the swordswoman will be the first American athlete to compete at the Olympics wearing a hijab.
Ibtihaj Muhammad has spoken out before against Donald Trump and his anti-Muslim rhetoric, so it was no surprise when she was asked about Trump at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro. She replied, “Who?”
A reporter repeated the presidential candidate’s name. Ms. Muhammad’s reply was, “Sorry, what did you say?”
The reporter repeated Trump’s name, louder.
After the audience was done laughing, Ms. Muhammad admitted, “Nah, I’m kidding.”
It’s not the first time Ibtihaj Muhammad has made clear her opinions on Donald Trump and his proposed ban on Muslim immigrants and registering Muslim citizens and residents, but it may be the first time she reminded her listeners of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s On First” routine. SB Nation reported how Ms. Muhammad explained to CNN that Donald Trump’s words are “very dangerous.” She said many people do not think about how Trump’s comments affect her and other Muslim Americans.
“I’m African-American. I don’t have another home to go to. My family was born here. I was born here. We’ve grown up in Jersey, I’ve grown up in Jersey. Where do we go?”
Like most African-Americans, Ibtihaj Muhammad’s family has lived in the United States for generations. Although slavery was not abolished until the end of the Civil War, kidnapping and importing slaves from Africa into the U.S. was outlawed in 1808, which means most African-American families have been in this country 10 generations or more. Donald Trump is only a third-generation American. His paternal grandfather, Friedrich Trumpf (anglicized to Frederick Trump) immigrated to the U.S. in 1885, his paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Christ Trump, came to the U.S. in 1902, and his mother immigrated to this country in 1930. As the Inquisitr has pointed out elsewhere, there is some doubt as to whether Donald Trump’s third and current wife, Melania Trump, came to the United States legally.
Donald Trump isn’t the only one who’s made Ms. Muhammad’s life as a Muslim-American difficult. The Inquisitr reported when Ibtihaj Muhammad was a victim of religious discrimination at a music and film festival in Texas in March.
“Like most American Muslims, she’s very familiar with religious discrimination. Ms. Muhammed is best known for three things: being the seventh-best fencer in the world, being a clothing designer of affordable, modest clothing, and speaking up against presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has called for a ban on Muslims immigrating to the United States.”
Only this spring, a total stranger approached her on the streets of New York City, asked her if she was a terrorist, and asked if she planned to blow up anything.
Ibtihaj Muhammad chose fencing as her sport because it lets her dress modestly. New York Magazine explained that Ms. Muhammad said the fencing uniform liberates her, because it lets people focus on her skills, not her body.
“Being covered allows people to see me for my skills and my ideas.”
In addition to having won the All-American fencing championship three times, Ibtihaj Muhammad has her own clothing line, Louella. She makes clothing that is fashionable, but modest and discreet. Her clothes are suitable for Muslims, Orthodox Jews, quiverfull Christians, or women of any creed who prefer not to show too much skin.
Ibtihaj Muhammad has used her fame to speak out for tolerance and civil rights. ESPN praised her for speaking against racism and religious bigotry. Ms. Muhammad won’t let Donald Trump or anyone else slow her down, but she refuses to take herself too seriously.
[Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]