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BLACK HISTORY MONTH IN NJ: A Salute to Ibtihaj Muhammad, Olympic Athlete from Maplewood


Writer Sopan Deb -New York Times said, "Ibtihaj Muhammad found fencing when she was 12 years old, growing up in Maplewood, N.J., or rather, her mother, Denise, found it for her.

As a practicing Muslim, her mother was eager to find a sport that would allow her daughter to dress modestly, to honor Islam". Ms. Muhammad is an American sabre fencer and a member of the United States fencing team.

She is best known for being the first Muslim American woman to wear a hijab while competing for the United States in the Olympics. In individual sabre at the 2016 Summer Olympics, she won her first qualifying round bout and was defeated in the second round by Cécilia Berder of France.

According to published reports in Wikipedia, she earned the bronze medal as part of Team USA in the Team Sabre, becoming the first female Muslim-American athlete to earn a medal at the Olympics. Muhammad was born and raised in Maplewood and both of her parents were born in the United States, where they converted to Islam.

Her father, Eugene Muhammad, is a retired Newark police officer, according to published reports. She attended Columbia High School and joined the school fencing team at age 13, under coach Frank Mustilli, now the head and owner of the New Jersey Fencing Alliance. Cécilia Berder of France defeated Ibtihaj in the second round in the Women’s Individual Sabre in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Summer Olympics but still left Rio with a bronze medal.

INFORMATION & IMAGE CREDIT: Wikipedia, Writer Sopan Deb -New York Times

SPONSORS: Metro Media Institute, Nino's Pizza, Bergen Street Harrison NJ, and William Paterson University