The Muslim Sports Foundation started its journey as an independent volunteer-led charity in 2001 when its name was the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation (MWSF). The organisation aimed to increase the involvement of Muslim women and girls in sport and physical activity without compromising their religious or cultural values.
Muslim women have been involved in sport since Islam’s beginning in the early 7th century and Muhammad’s races with his wife Aisha. Modern Muslim female athletes have achieved success in a variety of sports, including volleyball, tennis, association football, fencing, and basketball. In the 2016 Olympics, fourteen Muslim women won medals, participating in a wide range of sports.
The emergence of Muslim women wearing the hijab winning Olympic medals and featuring in campaigns such as Sport England’s This Girl Can is breaking down barriers and challenging stereotypes.
MWSF proactively promoted diversity and inclusion within sport and physical activity and was the only organisation in the UK with the focus on Muslim women and girls. Factors affecting sports participation for Muslim women have been cultural, familial, the lack of suitable facilities and bans on the hijab, the Islamic headscarf. However, the charity has reached over 200,000 Muslim women and girls through providing enriching and empowering experiences focusing on sport, physical activity, health, wellbeing, women’s rights, education and business in the diverse Muslim communities.
MWSF developed a credible national and international reputation setting the standard for the sports industry through strategic and practical consultancy, campaigns and insight.
Although MWSF’s focus has historically been on Muslim women and girls, our mission now is to create change by using sport and physical activity as a means for social development, improving education, building life-skills and raising health awareness for all members of the Muslim community. Our vision is to build a robust, healthy and active lifestyle for all Muslims in society regardless of age, ability, disability, socio-economic conditions, geography, background, education, gender or ethnic diversity.
The charity changed name from the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation to the Muslim Sports Foundation in July 2020 to endorse the new strategy of diversity and inclusion.