Port Adelaide has introduced a Power-branded hijab for young girls to get involved in the AFL sport and kick the footy.
Hajar Al Shimari, a young Australian Muslim girl said that the Power-branded hijab has given her a new found confidence encouraging her to pick up the footy and have a go.
“Every time, I swim or play sport, I wear it and it gives me so much confidence,” said Hajar.
The hijab’s creation was all part of Port Adelaide’s intercultural program to encourage the community to go from spectator to participant; encouraging greater social inclusion and cultural awareness within community sport.
As part of the program, students like Hajar who was involved in the intercultural program for the second year in a row, attended a carnival at Karen Rolton Oval on Friday 28 June, as well as the Port’s game against the Western Bulldogs at Adelaide Oval that Saturday night.
The program involved 310 students, many of whom were born in Australia, and some who have only been in the country for three months. For many students, the experience was a treasured introduction to the world of Australian football.
The hijabs have been well-documented in the fashion industry with global brands like Nike encouraging athletes of all backgrounds to aspire for sporting excellence. Though, it’s not every day that young Australian Muslim girls get to wear a headscarf of their favourite Australian football team.
When Hajar’s Iraqi parents first arrived in Australia, they spent nine months in a detention centre in 2000. Since then, she has been making her parent’s proud by fully engaging in the opportunities around her.
When asked about her faith and what the headscarf means to her, Hajar explains, “The hijabs are a must in Islam, we have to wear them and they respect our dignity,” said Hajar.
Proudly wearing her headscarf, Hagar said that she has never felt more accepted in Australia than when she settled at Port Adelaide.
“There is no discrimination in Australia, if you focus on good people, and Port Adelaide has shown me and my parents that female Muslims can play any sport we want”.