Plenty of Muslim women have topped their sport in international competition. Get to know 10 of these dedicated athletes.
10 top Muslim female athletes, past and present
LAILA ALI, USA Ali, 33, the daughter of the legendary Muhammad Ali, is a former professional boxer who retired with a 24-0 record. She has held three world titles and has made many television appearances, wrote a self-help book and has a line of make-up and beauty products.
HASSIBA BOULMERKA, ALGERIA Boulmerka, 42, won her country its first Olympic gold medal, in the 1,500 metres at Barcelona in 1992. She was the second Muslim woman ever to win an Olympic gold (after Nawal el Moutakawel, No 8).
RANIA EL WANI, EGYPT The swimmer el Wani, 33, has participated in three Olympics. She won medals at the 1990 African Championships, the 1991, 1995 and 1999 African Games; the 1997 Mediterranean Games and Pan-Arab Games; and the 1999 Arab Games.
ROQAYA AL GASSRA, BAHRAIN Al Gassra, 28, won a gold medal in the 200m sprint and a bronze in the 100m at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha. She has also won medals at the Asian Indoor and Arabian championships. She was the first female athlete to run in a hijab, at the 2004 Olympics, and was the flag bearer for Bahrain at the 2008 Olympics.
KIRAN KHAN, PAKISTAN Khan, 21, a record-holding swimmer, has represented her country at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and at Asian and Commonwealth Games, among other events.
SHEIKHA LATIFA BINT AHMED AL MAKTOUM, UAE Having won numerous medals at regional equestrian championships, Al Maktoum, 25, competed in the 2008 Olympics and before that won a team bronze medal at the 2006 Doha Asian Games. More recently she won an individual silver medal at the 2010 Asian Games.
SHEIKHA MAITHA BINT MOHAMMED BIN RASHID AL MAKTOUM, UAE Al Maktoum, 31, a martial arts champion, won the +60kg karate silver medal at the 2006 Doha Asian Games. She was a taekwondo competitor at the 2008 Olympics, and was the first Gulf woman to carry her nation's flag at the Olympics.
NAWAL EL MOUTAKAWEL, MOROCCO Moutakawel, 49, won the 400m hurdles race in 1984 in Los Angeles, becoming the first Muslim woman to earn a gold medal at the Olympic Games. She was also the first Muslim woman to be elected to the International Olympic Committee, in 1997. She won the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.
RUBAB RAZA, PAKISTAN Raza, 20, was her country's first female Olympic swimmer, competing at the age of 13 in the 50m freestyle at the 2004 Athens Games. She won two silver medals and one bronze at the 2004 Islamabad South Asian Games. She is Pakistan's youngest Olympian.
GHADA SHOUAA, SYRIA Shouaa, 38, won a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics at Atlanta in the heptathlon. The former basketball player also won medals at several Asian and World Games over the years.
Compiled by Audrey Coutinho