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Muslim Women's Sport Foundation
- Name: Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation
- Established: 2001
- Location: Harrow, London
The Muslim Women’s Sports Foundation (MWSF) was established to support Muslim Women who were going to be representing their country at the 3rd Muslim Women’s Games in Tehran, Iran. The Games are essentially an Olympic-style tournament held in an Islamic environment.
The MWSF exists primarily to get more Muslim women involved with sport through playing, coaching, organising and supporting teams to represent Britain at various national and international tournaments. The MWSF also delivers structured sport sessions in futsal, basketball, and badminton within a safe as well as a culturally and religiously appropriate environment, which meets the needs of the individuals. The organisation also provides opportunities in coaching, education and training relevant to creating individuals who can make a positive contribution to their local community.
The future for the MWSF will involve getting more Muslim women involved in sport and competing at an elite level, and continuing to provide opportunities in participation and training. The MWSF will be working with similar sports organisations in the UK, with the goal of bringing equality to Muslim women in sport so that they can access mainstream opportunities.
The British Muslim Women’s Futsal Team
The British Muslim Women’s Futsal Team have represented Britain at the Women’s Islamic Games and have participated in national sporting events such as the National Futsal Championships and the FA Umbro Fives tournament. The team currently consists of 15 players, a coach and a supervisor to support the team throughout tournaments, although the MWSF are currently looking to recruit more players and increase the number of teams around the UK.
Other teams in the 2005 Games came from Iran, Iraq, Turkmenistan and Armenia. All observers were particularly impressed by the high standard of the teams and the MWSF have been a part of the success at these Games. They hope to continue in the future by providing these opportunities to compete at the highest level for all participants of the MWSF futsal, basketball and badminton teams, as well as the teams for those sports that they will be catering for in the future.
Rimla Akhtar Chairperson
Rimla has been a member of the MWSF since its inception and as a keen futsal player has represented the MWSF at international competitions, becoming the Chairperson of the organisation, which is run by a team of volunteers.
One aim of the group is to raise awareness of issues surrounding Muslim women in sport – five years on this is still the primary vision for Rimla and the organisation.
The fact is that there are many Muslim women in this country who love to play sport and compete – this enthusiasm has been made clear in the work we have carried out so far. However, there is a definite lack of funding and resources – such as facilities – that cater for the needs of groups like MWSF.
Another issue that is of utmost importance to Rimla is a lack of role models in the Muslim and Asian community, where issues faced by women are similar.By having more positive role models, Rimla sees many advantages including more women playing sport and developing healthier lifestyles and helping this group to integrate with wider society at a local, national and international level.
In recent years Rimla has become a spokeswoman for all Muslim and Asian women through her work with the Football Association. She is a member of the Race Equality Advisory Board, which highlights and tackles issues relating to equality in football.
For more information on the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation go to www.mwsf.org.uk and you can email them at email@example.com if you would like to participate in their sport activities.