Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Islam convert teaches women self defence

A mum-of-four from Milton Keynes, who converted to Islam and quit her job to get a black belt in kickboxing, is teaching women self-defence.

Khadijah Safari aims to empower Muslim and non-Muslim women at a time when reports of Islamophobic hate crimes are on the rise.

Islam convert teaches women self defence Credit: ITV Anglia

Khadija Safari has been teaching Muay Thai kickboxing for almost a decade.

After converting to Islam she gave up her job as a graphic designer and has gone into business with her cage fighter husband.

"We were teaching in mixed classes and I didn't feel comfortable with that anymore and I had made the decision to wear hijab and I didn't want to train wearing it, I wanted to be able to remove it and train as I was before. So we set up mens only and womens only classes which was a huge risk because he had a lot of high profile clients which were women... but we did it, we went into it with full passion and it was successful from the first course that we launched."

– Khadijah Safari
Islam convert teaches women self defence Credit: ITV Anglia

A record number of Anti-Muslim attacks were reported in the UK last year. Khadihah teaches self defence to both Muslim and non-Muslim women.

"I'm not segregating anything, I'm uniting and I'm integrating women into society and non-Muslim women and women from all different faiths and backgrounds are learning about each other... for me, when I was at university, I would never have made friends with a woman who wore hijab because I thought she would be very different to who I was and now women are learning, we're all the same."

– Khadijah Safari

While self-defence is a big part of these classes Khadijah says it gives women strength in all aspects of their lives.

"It's now become something bigger than I ever thought it would be because of what the women get out of it that train with us. When women come and they say this training saved me, this training was therapy for me, this training has got me through some of my hardest times, it's my responsibility now to spread that as much as I can and to give more women the opportunity to have that in their life."

– Khadijah Safari