Muslim pupils are challenging stereotypes by taking part in a new fencing project led by a former international athlete.

Year 8 girls from Frederick Bremer School, in Siddeley Road, Walthamstow, demonstrated their fencing skills at Women of the World at the Festival Hall on Saturday (March 12).

The girls have been taking part in a project with charity Maslaha and British Fencing over the past three months.

They were taught by Linda Strachan, an Olympic fencer who competed at the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games.

Assiya Naciri, 12, said: “Before I started fencing I thought it was a high-class, white man’s game - it wasn’t really for girls.

“But I’ve started to realise what fencing actually is.

“It isn’t just about fighting – there’s something more behind it."

Charity Maslaha works to challenge inequalities for Muslims in society.

Rodha Amin, also 12, added: “When I’m fencing I feel proud because you know what you’re doing it for – you’re raising awareness about stereotypes and Muslim women.

“I just feel like it’s a new beginning.”

Raheel Mohammed, charity Maslaha director, said many believed young Muslim girls did not participate in sport.

He said: “We are always keen to push the boundaries and form unusual collaborations when it comes to our work and this project is a great opportunity to do just that.

“The stereotypes facing young Muslims and women in particular remain a constant feature of the media in all its forms.

“This project is an opportunity to take control of the narrative and tell a story that focuses on aspiration, creativity, and the right to define yourself."

To find out more about the project visit: