This Muslima Has the Need for Speed

January 6, 2011 by  

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of,

Yassmin and Health Minister Stephen RobertsonFormula One racing is wildly popular in Europe and Asia, but it is dominated by men. But a young Australian has her sights set on a Formula One career, and she brings the uncommon racing combination of being female and Muslim. Yassmin Abdel-Magied of Brisbane is the young lady with these uncommon dreams. “Everyone thought it was a phase,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald. “I just became enamoured with these beautiful machines, the capacity they have. It’s just fantastic.”

The daughter of Sudanese immigrants, Yassmin’s love of sports extends even further than racing, as she coaches a Muslim youth soccer team called “Shinpads and Hijabs.” Even more impressive, she was voted Young Queenslander of the Year in 2010 for the entire province of Queensland. She is also a member of the Queensland Design Council. And at the age of 16 she set up a network for community-minded teens called Youth Without Borders. In addition, she was the first girl at her Christian college to wear a hijab. You would not think that there are enough hours in the day for her to do all of that. “I never get eight hours of sleep at night,” she says. “But I’m all right with it, I enjoy being busy, I enjoy helping people … when you want to do things, you find time for it.”

The 19-year-old still has a year left at University of Queensland in pursuit of her mechanical engineering degree. But after that, inshAllah, this daughter of an architect and an electrical engineer will be pursuing other cars around a track, at very high speeds. Talk about the fast life.


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