Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a list of frequently asked questions about Shireen, organized professionally and personally. If you'd like to ask her a question, contact her.

To read more of Shireen's interviews, click here. To listen or watch Shireen, click here.


Professional

How do you prefer to be commissioned? 

Contact me through my website.

What have you learned now that you wished you knew before you got started with your work?

The first thing that comes to mind is how mean some people can be on the internet; conversely, how many good people are willing to help me in my journey. The most important lesson I’ve learned is how crucial the role of a good editor is in professional writing. A good editor is like the heart: strong, sensible, functional and capable of incredible amounts of necessary emotion.

What is the most common misconception about the work you do?

I don’t speak for all Muslim women. I speak for myself. I am a story teller and when people trust me with their stories, I take that very seriously. Muslim women are not a monolith and there is more than enough room for different people to share different perspectives in their life experiences.

What do you love about the role of public speaking in your line of work?

I love captivating an audience and sharing my work and experiences in a way that exposes people to new ideas. I’m good at what I do because I enjoy it. I love changing people’s perspective of what a sports expert can look like.

Where does your passion come from?

My passion about the work I do comes from my own understanding of justice. Injustice and exclusion frustrate me and I channel that into the work I do by being proactive, finding solutions to problems, and leading conversations that some may find uncomfortable. This is all part of the process.

What are the biggest barriers to Muslim women’s participation in sports?

The biggest barriers are access to equipment, financial support, a sports culture they’re not familiar with […] general toxic culture of masculinity in sports. [Muslim women] have to battle gendered islamophobia […] in sports. It can be a lot to handle. As far as Muslim girls go, [barriers] can be anything from body image, doubt. Young Muslim women suffer the same trials and tribulations as any other young woman, like lack of support from society to mixed messages to identifying what an athlete looks like. Source: McGill Daily

How do you carve out success in a crowded, homogeneous field?

You have to fight really hard to get your foot in the door and then prove how great you are. People ask me what I do for a living, and I tell them: “I write pitches and get rejected.” But I’ve been really lucky that I’ve had some really cool mentors and that people have given me a chance, and said, “Let’s see what you can do.” What ends up happening in sports writing is you create ally-ships with other women. I try to surround myself with people that identity as female or non-binary or femme-presenting. I feel safer in those spaces. Source: Ryerson Review of Journalism


Personal

Talk about your athletic background. Soccer is clearly your main sport, but did you play others growing up?

I started playing soccer when I was five years old. I fell in love with it. I played a lot of different sports as a child. My parents encouraged me to try different things. I played ice hockey, volleyball, touch football, paddled, played badminton and squash and swam a lot. When I was in University I rowed crew after I stopped playing varsity soccer (I started wearing hijab and it wasn’t permitted on the pitch at the time). Source: Ummah Sports

Why is your name footybedsheets?

Read here.

How do you deal with stress?

I’ve perfected self-care, which includes watching movies that make me happy, eating ice cream, and playing soccer, among other things.

What is something a lot of people don't know about you? Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?

I’m excellent at keeping secrets. I love cooking. Feeding people is my love language. I can take a fat blade of grass and play a short tune (such as jingle bells).

What is your favorite animal?

I’m a cat lover.

What is your favorite movie?

My all-time favorite movie is Bend it Like Beckham. I’ve probably watched it over 800 times.

What is your favorite book?

I adore lot of books but one particular publication of Classic Islamic knowledge grounds me and I turn to it for constant centering and relearning. I won’t spoil it but the title is pretty clear: ‘Patience and Gratitude’ by Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah.

At the moment, I am devouring Lila Abu Lughod’s “Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving?” Should be mandatory reading in every class, everywhere in the world. No bias. Source: Muslimah Montage