Khatib, 32, is a six-time marathoner who documents her training and celebrates other Hijabis – Muslim women who cover everything but their hands, feet and face for modesty and in accordance with their religion – on her Instagram account, @runlikeahijabi.
“I feel like [other] covered women maybe are hesitant to get out of their comfort zones,” Khatib tells Women’s Running. “Maybe it’s a lack of apparel out there; maybe it’s all the negative press about Muslim women.”
The mom of three first stepped out of her comfort zone in 2012, when she signed up for her first race, a local 10K.
“I crossed the finish and instantly felt euphoria,” she says. “To have done this was a huge accomplishment in my book.”
That led her to sign up for more and more races – half-marathons, marathons and more – but she was bothered by the lack of other Hijabis. Khatib hopes that her Instagram account will “defy stereotypes and encourage my Muslim sisters.”
Khatib says she still gets questions from other runners about her hijab – “Don’t you get hot?” – but she doesn’t let them bother her.
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“I don’t mind at all – I’m just being me,” she says. “I’m in my zone and I don’t notice what’s on my head or anything else.”
And she welcomes the questions.
“If you see anyone who looks like me, please don’t rely on your assumptions,” Khatib says. “Ask them questions. Smile and offer a nice word.”