US Athlete who campaigned for human rights in sport honored with Freedom from Fear Award
US basketball player Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir won the Freedom from Fear Award for her successful campaign to have FIBA’s hijab ban overturned. Her campaign brought together UNI’s World Players Association, Human Rights Watch, Shirzanan (an advocacy group for women athletes), Athlete Ally, and basketball player associations from around the world including UNI affiliates the National Basketball Players Association and EU Athletes.
She was unable to play for three years.
Ms. Abdul-Qaadir refused to choose between her faith and the sport she loves. “I was thinking: ‘Why am I going to change for these people who don’t want me there in the first place?’” she recently said. “Who I am, my belief, what I’ve been raised on and what I love is my faith, and who I am as a Muslim woman. I’m not going to let that go for a game of basketball.”
UNI’s support for Ms. Adbul-Qaadir is part of its newly-launched World Player Association, which strives to bring a global human rights framework to sport. She will accept the award in person at UNI's World Congress in Liverpool next June.