In a groundbreaking move for inclusivity and representation in sports, Scottish cricketer Abtaha Maqsood has become the UK’s first hijab-wearing Muslim woman to play international cricket. Maqsood, a talented athlete and role model, recently appeared on a popular BBC children’s television series, CBeebies Bedtime Stories, where she read a book that shed light on the Islamic tradition of wearing a headscarf. Her journey, both on and off the field, serves as an inspiration to aspiring athletes and promotes the message that one’s identity should never be a barrier to pursuing dreams.
Smashing Limitations in Cricket
At the age of 24, Abtaha Maqsood has already achieved significant milestones in her cricketing career. As a member of the Birmingham Phoenix team in The Hundred, a fast-paced form of cricket, she made history by becoming the first woman to play international cricket while wearing a hijab. Her unwavering dedication and talent have defied stereotypes and opened doors for greater diversity in the sport.
Embracing Identity and Inspiring Others
Through her appearance on CBeebies Bedtime Stories, Maqsood chose to read “Not Now, Noor!” by Farhana Islam and Nabila Adani, a book that explores the significance of wearing a headscarf within the Islamic faith. By sharing her own experiences and explaining the importance of the hijab to Muslim women, Maqsood aims to educate children and foster understanding. Her efforts to provide a simple and honest explanation of the hijab reflect her commitment to empowering others and nurturing a sense of inclusivity.
Message of Modesty
For Maqsood, wearing the hijab is not only a symbol of modesty but also a source of pride and identity. By donning the hijab during cricket matches, she sends a powerful message that anyone can pursue their dreams and excel in their chosen field, regardless of their appearance or religious beliefs. Her presence in prominent stadiums like Edgbaston, home to Birmingham Phoenix, amplifies the message of inclusivity and encourages individuals to embrace their authentic selves.
Inspiring Future Generations
As the first British woman of Pakistani descent to represent Scotland in international cricket, Maqsood understands the importance of role models. She acknowledges the lack of representation she experienced as a young athlete and strives to be the role model she once longed for. Through her accomplishments and visibility, she aspires to inspire other aspiring athletes, regardless of their cultural or religious backgrounds, to believe in their own potential and pursue their passions.
Emblem of Harmony
Maqsood’s journey is a testament to the power of sport in transcending boundaries and uniting people. By creating a sporty hijab specifically for Maqsood, the Birmingham Phoenix team has shown their commitment to supporting her and ensuring her comfort while playing. This gesture emphasizes the importance of diversity and the celebration of individuality within sports.
Abtaha Maqsood’s story represents a significant step forward in promoting inclusivity and breaking down barriers in international cricket. Her passion for the game, coupled with her pride in her identity as a Muslim woman, has made her a trailblazer and an inspiration for others. By sharing her experiences and championing diversity, Maqsood encourages individuals to pursue their dreams unapologetically and serves as a beacon of hope for future generations. Her story is a reminder that representation matters and that every person, regardless of their background, deserves an equal opportunity to shine on the world stage.