A growing number of Muslim women have been taking part in different sports recently, in a celebration of diversity. Yet, in England, the number still remains below average.
According to Sport England, only 18 percent of Muslim women take part in sport, compared to 30 percent of the total female population.
And six years before, the figures were as low as 12 percent – indicating a rise in Muslim women taking up sport and fitness.
In contrast, the figures for Muslim men taking part in sports do not fall below the average for British men as a whole.
Working to change the facts on the ground, a group of Muslim women from Peterborough set up their own cycling group and are on a mission to get more females from minority backgrounds on their bikes.
“I think cycling in a group like ours is fantastic because we are cycling together,” Safura Houghton, a cyclist, told The BBC.
This is the first all-female Muslim cycling group in Peterborough. The women are gaining confidence and love for sport together.
Along with encouraging sports, the female-friendly group is working to correct stigmas to exercising in public.
“I think more women from minority backgrounds should
take up cycling,” said 39-year-old Naheed Kausar from the Peterborough
“It’s a great way to socialize with other ladies and
it’s also a great way of improving your health and fitness.”
Soraya Royker, 43, believes that the initiative would provide hijabi women with great support and inspiration.
“If other ladies were to see me on my bike with my
hijab and see that I’m wearing normal clothes… [it will] hopefully inspire
other women to join our group,” she said.