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Breaking Barriers Through Brave Conversations. (Episode 1 of 5)

What does it mean to be Muslim in the world of basketball in Canada?


Dr. Ardavan Eizadirad (TABO executive) develops and delivers initiatives and services to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion within sports organizations. The goal is to work collaboratively with organizations to ensure culturally accurate, authentic, and inclusive communication is created.


Sports can be used as a platform to challenge systemic inequities and promote inclusion and social justice at all levels. It is also the lived experiences by individuals that represent the diverse communities here in Canada.


The first in a five part series titled: Breaking Barriers Through Brave Conversations

"Being Muslim in the World of Basketball in Canada"


looks at the challenges, stereotypes, and misconceptions Muslim individuals face? Do religious beliefs play a role participation? What positive influence does being a Muslim in sports have? And what of Muslim women. Where do they fit in?


In professional sports most of us have heard of Muhammad Ali: easily the most prominent Muslim sports figure in recent history. In professional basketball, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Hakeem Olajuwon were two of the most revered basketball players in NBA history.


Muslim have varying experiences; they face different obstacles in trying to participate in sports. They all must try to navigate the complexity of their identities. Individually, their decisions are based on their values, obligations, expectations, and affinity to the sport.


The video below explores how some of our colleagues experienced basketball in Canada. Keep in mind that there is no single “Muslim” experience.

WATCH THE VIDEO - BEING MUSLIM IN THE WORLD OF BASKETBALL


Takeaway:

Muslim professional, and recreational athletes have faced and dealt with hate and discrimination from teammates, coaches, players and fans. While not all of it is overt and blatant, there are subtle instances where you know that behind closed doors certain feelings are expressed.


We need to let go of the misconceptions, labels, stereotypes and ignorance around the religion!

A lot of people don’t really know the true Islam and the great contributions Islam and Muslims have made to civilization. Islam has a rich history. It is not a new religion that popped up in recent years.


Whether you're a Muslims playing professional basketball, an official, and/or establishing recreational leagues within a community, it is not something to be looked down upon or disrespected.


What's necessary is that we appreciate, respect and regard their faith. That we consider Islamic principles are an upright way of life, and when practiced will reflect in ones character. Islam is practical, and it’s not meant to make things difficult for people.


If one practices the religion with proper understanding, your deeds will echo in ways that trigger respect.

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