Muslim sporting heroes are rarely away from the public gaze. From the track to the boxing ring, from all over the globe, Muslims are setting sporting records. Few, however, have paralleled the achievements of Faezeh Hashemi and few receive so little public acknowledgement .
Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani, has earned her country no gold medals as such but has promoted the cause of Muslim women in sport – encouraging and enabling women the world over to enter an arena that has for too long appeared unsuitable for Muslim women.
Thanks to her campaigning as Vice President of Iran’s National Olympic Committee, the International Olympic Committee permits Muslim women to compete at the games wearing appropriate Islamic dress. This represents a tremendous victory for countless women who might otherwise have their sporting ambitions thwarted. Despite considerable opposition, Hashemi founded and is President of the Federation of Islamic Countries’ Women’s Solidarity and Sports. She arranged two major international competitions in Iran, demonstrating the keenness and ability of Muslim women to participate in Olympic-standard events.
Faezeh Hashemi was a successful member of parliament in her own right, polling close to the highest vote in previous elections. Her work on and off the political field to make accessible a world that could easily remain out of bounds for many women, stirs the reserves of strength, agility and determination that lay untapped in all of us.