Olympic Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad recently shared that she was detained at US Customs in an airport for no apparent reason.
During the MAKERS conference last week, Muhammad, 30, spoke about #45’s xenophobic travel ban on seven Muslim nations has affected her own life: In a recent interview with PopSugar, she elaborated on what happened.
“Well, I personally 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. 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.”
On the incident being disheartening:
“My human response is to cry because I was so sad and upset and disheartened — and just disappointed. At the same time, I’m one of those people who feels like I have to be strong for those people who may not be able to find that strength. I feel like I have to speak up for those people whose voices go unheard. It was a really hard two hours, but at the same time, I made it home. I try to remember to be positive and to try to leave all these situations, even if they may be very difficult, with love. I think that we will come out on top as women, as people of color, as Muslims, as transgender people, as people who are part of the disabled community — I think that we’ll come out on top.”
On standing together in solidarity against Trump:
“I think that when we stand in solidarity, we’ll be stronger. For those people who fail to see the injustices that are occurring, in particular with the Muslim community, I think it’s because you’ve sat in a seat of privilege for a long time, and you kind of choose to be myopic and not think of those people around you. This is a moment where we choose the moral high ground and we think of each other as brothers and sisters and speak up for those who may not be able to. How can you immediately help? I would say by donating to organizations like the ACLU, who can fight the ban and in real ways can help Muslims in this moment.”
Muhammad made history last year when she became the first U.S. athlete to compete in the Olympic Games while wearing a hijab.
Read her interview with Pop Sugar in its entirety here.