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September 06, 2005

British futsal team competing at International Islamic Women’s Games

Over a dozen Muslim women from the UK are traveling to Tehran later this month to compete in the futsal (five-a-side football) competition at the Fourth International Islamic Women’s Games.

Despite a lack of funding, it is the second time that Britain is participating at the Muslim women’s ‘olympics’ starting on September 22. In 2001, the UK became the first non-Muslim country to take part when sending futsal and badminton teams.

“These Games have given me the opportunity to represent who I am - a British Muslim - whilst playing a sport that I love,” Samana Fazel, member of the British Muslim Women’s Futsal Squad told The Muslim News. “We all [the Squad] understand the importance of our roles and the way in which we can shape the future of sport in the lives of Muslim women all around the country. It’s a great honour and a great responsibility,” she said. Another member, Faiza Akmal, said that being part of the squad had enabled her to play sport in an environment that does not contradict my religion. “I am able to show the general British public that Muslim women are empowered,” she said.

The UK is among some 25 countries competing in the futsal tournament, which lasts for a week and includes 15 games.

Futsal coach, Yolandi Taylor, said that the team felt confident during practice matches. “It is a pleasure to work with this squad. These girls are greatly determined and work with an unwavering pride of representing their country. We are hoping to do really well,” she told The Muslim News.

The players have persevered with little financial support and have only been able to continue with sponsorship and backing from The Muslim News, which has a large data base of Muslim women wanting to participate in other sports but are unable to do so due to a lack of resources.

The position of women competing in sports was clarified by a fatwa issued by the Deputy Chairman of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, Sheikh Faysal Mawlawi. “It is permissible for women to participate in sport as long as all religious requirements are fulfilled. Religious requirements entail that all activity take place in a female-only environment and no photography be taken where the women are participating, unless they are fully covered,” the Sheikh said.

For further information contact us on 020 8863 8586 or 077 68 241 325. Please acknowledge The Muslim News when using the press release

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