Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir first picked up a basketball at the age of three, and she’s been playing ever since. Living in a practicing-Muslim household, as she grew older, Bilqis followed her religious beliefs. 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. #Bilqis had a very successful high school career, scoring over 3000 points and breaking both men’s and women’s scoring records in Massachusetts — a record that was formerly held by Olympic Gold Medalist and 1999 WNBA All-Star, Rebecca Lobo. Bilqis played college basketball at the University of Memphis for four years, from 2009 to 2013, and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in exercise science. #Her goal was to continue playing professionally in Europe, but the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) rule prohibiting headgear larger than five inches ended that dream. Unwilling to play without her hijab, Bilqis chose faith over basketball and became an advocate. Working alongside other Muslim players, Bilqis raised her voice for the next generation and effectively forced FIBA to lift the ban. Bilqis now works to pave the way for other Muslim women in sports. Her efforts include “Muslim Girls Hoop Too” — an online campaign to raise awareness for Muslim women in sports, with an emphasis on female basketball players. #Bilqis lives in Memphis, Tennessee, with her family. Lion on the Inside is her story.
Lion on the Inside
2023 - Eureka! Nonfiction Children’s Book Award, California Reading Association, Honor Book
Non-fictionLion on the Inside, 2023