Everyone asks Mozynah “Moza” Nofal questions. Why does she wear a scarf on her head? Why does she always dress in long sleeves? What’s it like to be Muslim?

Nofal graduated from Cobleskill High School and is attending Carleton University in Ontario, Canada, where she is a member of the fencing team.

Her teammates asked how it felt to fence with her scarf under her face mask. They also wanted her to know they love and support her. So in the final competition of the year, when other teams dyed their hair the same color to show unity, her teammates donned head scarves, called hejab or hijab.

“We’ve always noticed that she’s the only fencer in Ontario that wears a hijab; it must feel lonely or different,” said Rachael Gardner, a sophomore on the fencing team. “We all really respect the confidence she has in her religion.”

Nofal, 16 and a freshman, couldn’t stop laughing at first.

“I didn’t imagine they would do something like that,” she said. “For me, it’s a really big thing when someone puts on a hijab because it’s such a religious act, but for them it was part of being a team. … I thought it was really sweet.”


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