US Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad says she was detained by customs after Donald Trump's 'Muslim ban'
'Even though I represent Team USA and I have that Olympic hardware, it doesn't change how you look and how people perceive you,' top athlete says.
by Will Worley
Thursday 9 February 2017
America’s first hijab wearing Olympian, Ibtihaj Muhammad, ha said she was detained at US customs as a result of Donald Trump’s travel ban.
Signed on 27 January, the order banned nearly all travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries and prompted widespread protests. It was temporarily halted after eight days by federal judge James Robart in Seattle.
The fencer, 31, shot to fame during the Rio Olympics for wearing a hijab and winning a bronze medal for Team USA.
"I was held at customs for two hours just a few weeks ago. I don't know why. I can't tell you why it happened to me, but I know that I'm Muslim. I have an Arabic name," she told Popsugar.
“And even though I represent Team USA and I have that Olympic hardware, it doesn't change how you look and how people perceive you.
“Unfortunately, I know that people talk about this having a lot to do with these seven countries in particular, but I think the net is cast a little bit wider than we know. And I'm included in that as a Muslim woman who wears a hijab.”
Ms Muhammad, a New Jersey native, has previously expressed her opposition to Mr Trump’s policies.
Last week, she posted a picture to Instagram depicting the Statue of Liberty hugging a Muslim child. It was captioned: “Our diversity is what makes us strong #NoBanNoWall.”
In addition, Ms Muhammad said during the Olympics she didn't feel safe in America because of anti Muslim rhetoric in the country.
This has become more vigorous since Mr Trump took office, with his travel restrictions widely branded a 'Muslim ban'.
Mr Trump's executive order temporarily banned travel to the US for people from Syria, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Yemen and Libya. It also suspended the country's refugee global programme.
Last week, a federal judge in Washington ruled against the government. Since then, 641 refugees from 13 countries, including five whose citizens were barred from the US under the travel ban, had arrived in the US.
The US appeals court is now hearing the government’s case in favour of reinstating the ban.
|Olympian fencer, Ibtihaj Muhammad represented Team USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics. photo AFP Getty|