BASKETBALL CLINIC WITH BILQIS ABDUL QADIR
Sunday February 25TH
Location – Hyde Park Neighborhood Club 5480 S Kenwood Ave.
Time – 9:00am-12:00pm
Take advantage of a unique opportunity to meet and play with this inspiring, groundbreaker, Bilqis Abdul Qadir.
From a young age, Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir knew she wanted basketball to be a part of her life. After first picking up a ball at the age of four at a local YMCA, Bilqis’ love for the game grew. Growing up in a practicing Muslim household, Bilqis was to follow her religious beliefs as she grew older. She began wearing a hijab, a traditional head covering for Muslim women, and practiced modesty on the court by covering all skin except her hands.
She became a standout at New Leadership Charter School in Springfield, Mass. where she excelled on the court and in the classroom. The school’s valedictorian, Bilqis set the Massachusetts state record for both boys and girls, with 3,070 points scored – breaking Connecticut and WNBA star Rebecca Lobo’s previous state record of 2,740. She was also named the state’s 2009 Gatorade Player of the Year and a McDonald’s All-American nominee.
Her skills transitioned into a full ride scholarship to the University of Memphis where she played four years (2009-13) and graduated with magna cum laude with a degree in exercise science. During her freshman year at Memphis, she was invited to the White House for Ramadan feast and was acknowledged by President Barack Obama for being the first Muslim woman to play covered in collegiate basketball.
In 2011, Bilqis was awarded the United States Basketball Writers Association “Most Courageous” award at the NCAA Women’s Final Four for being recognized as the first Muslim woman to play covered in NCAA history.
Bilqis battled through a torn ACL during her freshman season and wrapped up her time as a Tiger in 2013. Using her extra year of NCAA eligibility, Bilqis transferred to Indiana State where she led the Sycamores to a Missouri Valley Conference title on her way to becoming the league’s Newcomer of the Year. She ranks 10th all-time in a single season for points scored (454), was also named First Team All-MVC, Second Team Scholar Athlete and earned a combined seven conference Player, Newcomer and Scholar Athlete of the Week awards.
Her hopes were to continue playing professionally in Europe, but were quickly diminished when she was informed of the rule from the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) that prohibits head gear larger than five inches. Unwilling to stray in her beliefs, Bilqis has stood up to the international rules, petitioning to the league for an exemption to the rule. Without any success, Bilqis has had to put her dreams of playing professionally aside as she works to now pave a way for other Muslim women in sports.
She has started an online campaign called “Muslim Girls Hoop Too” to raise awareness for Muslim women in sports with emphasis on female basketball players. Through her campaign, Bilqis was once again invited to the White House in March 2015 for the Muslim Leaders Meeting as one of 15 representatives that met with President Obama and his senior officials. That experience led her to an invitation to the 2015 White House Easter Egg Roll where she was able to raise awareness for physical activity under the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign.
After finishing her master’s degree in May 2015 at Indiana State, Bilqis looks to continue inspiring young Muslim women through sport.