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American Olympic fencer takes stab at Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric

'I think his words are very dangerous,' Ibtihaj Muhammad said
Ibtihaj Muhammad is first American Olympic athlete to wear a hijab (AFP)

Ibtihaj Muhammad, the fencer and first American Olympic athlete to wear a hijab, lambasted Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for his immigration plan and anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Muhammad, who will compete in the sabre competition on Monday, told CNN last week: “I think his words are very dangerous.”

“When these types of comments are made, no one thinks about how they really affect people. I’m African American. I don’t have another home to go to. My family was born here. I was born here. I’ve grown up in Jersey. All my family’s from Jersey. It’s like, well, where do we go?”

“I’m hopeful that, in my efforts to represent our country well as an athlete - that they change the rhetoric around how people think and perceive the Muslim community,” she added.

Muhammad feels she is in a special position to speak her mind about the tense US political climate and upcoming presidential elections.

"In this particular political climate in the history of this country, it is groundbreaking to have a Muslim woman on the US team," Muhammad told BBC Sport.

"I am excited to challenge the stereotypes and misconceptions people have about Muslim women. I want to show people that we can not only be on any Olympic team, but on the US Olympic team, which is the strongest of the world's teams."

"As a global community, we have to work harder to change our current situation. It is an unhealthy one," she added.

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