Excerpt:

Although many top German athletes come from immigrant families, very few Muslim girls and women in Germany play sports. Many parents see Western sports culture as a threat and keep their daughters away from coed athletic clubs. But some forward-thinking initiatives show how young female Muslims can be encouraged to take part in sports -- and how it can change their lives.

She had to summon up all of her courage to pose for a photograph with a basketball under her arm, an athlete wearing a headscarf, in a place she had been forbidden to enter: a gymnasium.

Sara K. tries to smile. She doesn't know how her father will react to the photo. She says he is a man who is quick to raise his hand. Sara, 20, was born in Berlin. Her father is from Algeria and her mother is a German who converted to Islam. Her parents don't want their daughter to participate in sports, saying that it isn't appropriate for a Muslim woman.

Despite her parents' wishes, Sara has been playing basketball and football secretly for years. She says she has a feeling of "lightness and independence" when she plays sports. But now she no longer wants to hide the fact that she is taking part in sport -- an activity that is completely normal for other women her age. She wants her parents to accept their daughter's passion for sports, which is why she is posing for this photo at a gymnasium in Kreuzberg, a Berlin neighborhood that is home to many immigrants and Germans of foreign descent.


Read the complete original version of this item...