Muslim Girls Fence is a project collaboration between Maslaha and British Fencing. It aims to facilitate spaces at a grassroots level for Muslim girls and women to fence. The group aims to challenge assumptions and narratives relating to their gender, racial, religious, and other identities through both physical and creative methods.
Why was Muslim Girls Fence created?
We created Muslim Girls Fence because we recognised that there was a need in sport to open the doors to more Muslim women. There has never been a lack of desire to get involved in activities like fencing, but most organisations are blind to the needs of appropriate spaces. As a Muslim myself, and coming from the Pakistani community that is labelled by many as “a hard to reach community,” I was aware first-hand of what my community needed.
From my own experiences, my biggest challenge was overcoming my own “you can’t do this” mentally, which was a perception that I was subconsciously carrying around with me. Fencing should be suitable for all, though. Unfortunately, in many clubs, women don’t feel it meets their needs. There are numerous reasons for this, such as spaces feeling male dominated, the colour of their skin, cost of lessons or just feeling out of place. Things that are easy to change though, if you’re able to recognise them.