50 Most Influential Women in the Arab World
Wed 28 Feb 2018 06:30 AM
Zahra Lari

Designation: Athlete, Figure skater

Country: UAE

Zahra Lari is a ground-breaking Emirati athlete, not only because she is Abu Dhabi’s first female professional figure skater, but also the first ever figure skater to compete in a hijab.

In her first competition, the European Cup in Canazei, Italy, in 2012, Lari became the first Arab woman to figure skate in front of a professional international judging panel wearing a headscarf – although the judges deducted points from her score for an outfit violation. The decision motivated her to lead a campaign to the International Skating Union to change its rules, and her subsequent competition in Germany, the judges were instructed not to consider her hijab a rules violation.

The 22-year-old ‘Ice Princess of the UAE’ was included by Nike, becuase of her growing prominence, in a campaign in the Middle East that highlighted Muslim women competing in sport and wearing a hijab.