(702 ABC Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
The Sydney Cycling Sisters are a group of Muslim women who gather for weekly riding sessions.On Sunday, more than a dozen Cycling Sisters will get on their bikes for their second Spring Cycle race from North Sydney to Homebush.Their message?”Muslim women are the same as any other women,” Ms Rahal said.Challenging ‘negative rhetoric’The occupational therapist and mother of four said the “negative Islamic rhetoric” in the past decade following terrorist attacks had scared a lot of people in the Muslim community.”You watched TV and saw Tony Abbott saying: ‘You’ve got to be on Team Australia’,” Ms Rahal said.”What does that mean? A few years ago Cindy Rahal was sitting in a shopping centre with her sister and a friend when a man approached her yelling: “There are so many f***ing Muslims around.”He threatened her with a crowbar before leaving and causing damage elsewhere in the centre.”He basically stood over me … and said, ‘have you ever seen a crowbar’ in a really menacing way,” Ms Rahal recalled.”It was a Thursday night — I thought I was safe.”The intimidation was very real, very scary.”This incident, as well as other verbal and physical confrontations experienced by her friends, prompted Ms Rahal to start a cycling group. It means there’s going to be some people who are not going to be included on this team. (702 ABC Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
“Even though it’s a very small minority that do it, it’s enough to scare women.”I found that a lot of women stopped doing things for leisure, like going out and riding a bike.”Muslims are tired of saying this is not our religion. Photo:
Eaman Badaui from Canley Vale says she loves keeping fit and enjoys meeting women from “all walks of life”. External Link:
Sydney Cycling Sisters Facebook
“We’re saying we’re Muslim women and we’re free, we’re going to ride our bikes and we’re not going to assimilate the way you want us to assimilate.”We’re going to assimilate the way we want to with our hijabs on, while wearing modest clothes and observing our faith, because that’s important to us.”It doesn’t make us bad people and it doesn’t make us terrorists, it makes us people who enjoy life who don’t want to be criticised for what we wear.”Ms Rahal said she hoped more women of all fitness levels and ethnic and religious background would join the Cycling Sisters. Photo:
Cindy Rahal says the cycling group has given the women confidence. We are frustrated with not being heard.”It was a sentiment she put to Pauline Hanson during the ABC’s Q&A program and accused the senator of proliferating fear about Muslims.”With this cycling group, we’re trying to eliminate some of that fear,” Ms Rahal said.
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(702 ABC Sydney: Amanda Hoh) 702 ABC Sydney
October 14, 2016 13:33:55
Sydney Cycling Sisters is a group made up of Muslim women from across Sydney.