LOS ANGELES - Ibtihaj Muhammad was not making a fashion statement. What she wore at the Team USA Media Summit last month in Los Angeles spoke of something much more significant.
She was dressed in blue jeans, a white jacket with a red U.S. Olympic team logo and a charcoal scarf covering her head, ears and neck, lining the oval of her copper-colored face.
It was the scarf that had drawn all the attention. There is an irony in having that dark, monochrome scarf be the attraction, given that Muhammad has such a sense of style she has launched a clothing line full of distinctive apparel in bright colors and intricate patterns.
The scarf, known now as hijab although referred to in the Quran as khimar, is plenty eye-catching in one of Muhammad’s worlds, the world of Olympic sports, where few wear it.
For Muhammad and many Muslim women, hijab is a symbol of both their identity and their spiritual connection to God. And she is soon to be the first U.S. athlete who competes in hijab at the Olympics.