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American Muslim Runner Competes in Iran

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    American Muslim Runner Competes in Iran http://www.chn.ir/en/news/?section=1&id=1243 Tehran, 26 September 2005 (CHN) -- Saira Kureshi, the 26 years-old
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2005
      American Muslim Runner Competes in Iran

      Tehran, 26 September 2005 (CHN) -- Saira Kureshi, the 26 years-old
      originally Pakistani runner who is a member of the American athletes'
      team in the 4th Women Islamic Games, considers Iranian culture a
      lovely, friendly one.

      Although she was familiar with the culture because of her Iranian
      friends back there in the US, Saira was astonished by the real image
      of Iran, devoid of media distortions.

      Studying Medicine at Harvard, last year she took a course on women
      studies, with concentration on the condition of women in Islamic
      countries. That was an opportunity for her to focus on the Iranian
      culture, which she loves so much.

      With an Asian appearance, she is not taken as an American athlete when
      contacted by the people. Because of her familiarity with and interest
      in the Iranian culture, she has some plans to take trips to Iran in
      the future, running some medical projects which she has begun already
      in Pakistan.

      She has been to Iranian restaurants, having Iranian dishes, even
      before coming to Iran and mentions the cuisine as a lovely one. She is
      looking for an extra time to get out in the streets and buy Iranian
      handicrafts as souvenirs.

      "Though I don't wear hijab in the US fulltime, I consider it as a
      beautiful thing and respect it," she told CHN reporter.

      She has been to several other Islamic countries, including Pakistan
      (for visiting relatives), Saudi Arabia (for Umrah) and Egypt in which
      she spent a year studying Arabic.

      Explaining the differences between the Islamic atmospheres of these
      countries, she says, "The governments of all these countries are
      Islamic but their approaches to issues like hijab are varied. The
      general important thing, however, is that they are all Muslims, no
      matter how differently you wear hijab."

      Considering the Women Islamic Games as a sport tourism event, she
      explained, "Providing an opportunity for women to practice sport
      without being witnessed by men is a great effort. Although holding
      sport events which can not be viewed by all people can not be granted
      much as a tourist attraction, but I believe that is not the goal of
      games such as the Women Islamic Games."

      "The main goal of such events," she adds, "is bringing together the
      different cultures and providing an opportunity for Muslim women to
      meet each other".

      Although considering the media an influential source of information
      all over the world, Kureshi does not blame them for creating the wrong
      image existing currently in the western world, and believes it is the
      task of Muslims, mostly American ones, to appropriate the cliched
      image of Muslims released by media.

      "I love living in a country in which I am free to practice my
      religion. Although American Muslims are a minority in the US, but I
      believe we are forming our own culture there, coexisting with all the
      other Americans," she asserted.

      The 4th Islamic Women Games are held in Tehran from 23-30 September
      2005, with 1689 athletes from 40 countries taking part in the




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