Kerala’s Hijabi bodybuilder has become a new internet sensation after the 23-year-old dental college student won women’s title in the Mr Kerala bodybuilding competition last month.
Majiziya Bhanu trains and takes part in competition with her body covered from head to ankle in a burkini-style modesty suit. “I am active in powerlifting, but never thought of bodybuilding. My husband encouraged me to participate in it. Initially I was a bit reluctant but he gave me strength,” Bhanu was quoted by Hindustan Times.
Bhanu said that it was her American-Afghan husband, Ahmed Kohan Alizaey, who had first suggested her to try her luck in bodybuilding competitions.
“I got into bodybuilding accidentally. It was my fiance who encouraged me. I was initially hesitant about bodybuilding because I thought I will have to expose my body. But fiance showed me photographs of muslim women with hijab, into bodybuilding from countries like Egypt. And I thought I can do this too”, she told NDTV.
Bhanu said that training to become a bodybuilder wasn’t easy as she grew up in a small village of Orkatteri in Kozhikkode district. She said that she had to overcome several social hurdles since her early years in her pursuit to become a sportswoman.
“Being a girl or a Muslim doesn’t matter. What you need is an undying passion. I want the world to know the hijab is not a stumbling block. I want women to be gutsy and take up all challenges in their life,” she was quoted by Hindustan Times.
She’s already been awarded the strongest woman of Kerala title thrice by the state’s Powerlifting Association. On wearing hijab, Bhanu said, “I am comfortable with my Hijab. And I am pursuing whatever I want. I am grateful to my parents who have stood by me and my fiance. Women should be allowed to pursue their dreams.”