To celebrate their 50th birthdays, Mara Gubuan and her Urbandale, Iowa, high school classmates invited six elite Muslim female athletes to RAGBRAI, the annual bicycle ride that took place this week (July 19-25) across the Hawkeye State.
The idea was to “create a counter-narrative” to dispel the misconception that Muslim women don’t compete in sports. The riders of Team Shirzanan, from mostly Muslim countries, showed it could be done, even while wearing headscarves during July’s summer heat.
Gubuan founded Team Shirzanan by collecting donations, through her nonprofit company Shirzanan Global, a media and advocacy platform empowering Muslim female athletes. “Shirzanan” means “female heroes” in the Persian language.
Photo: stanley yuu