AltMuslim carries an article entitled An American Muslim Sporting Legacy: the Riyaadah and the Islamic Games (14th June 2010) by Su’ad Abdul Khabeer which explores the role of sports in bringing the Muslim community in the US closer and creating a sense of pride and belonging amongst Muslims:
“Despite their different trajectories, the Islamic Games and the Riyaadah share many of the same goals. Both competitions seek to give Muslims the opportunity to participate in an athletic environment that conforms to Muslim social norms. According to Imam Nadim Ali of the Atlanta-based Community Masjid part of the impetus behind the Riyaadah were the many new Muslims who were athletes before conversion and wanted to continue to their athleticism as Muslims. These sports competitions also provide opportunities for Muslim women to, as the President of the Islamic Games Salaudeen Nausrudeen, remarked “compete, in hijab or not, with full glory of the game.” In fact, at the Islamic Games women are the fasting growing sector of participants, with a 40% increase in 2010 in comparison to a 20% increase in overall participation. These specific outcomes are tied to an overarching theme of these games: building relationships within an American Muslim community that is deeply divided by race, class, politics, and ideologies. Perhaps the hope is that through a mutual love for “the game” we will rediscover our love for each other.”
You can read the full article here.