A young former Somali refugee woman has become Britain’s first female Muslim football referee.
Jawahir Roble, 23, has been described by the UK press as the “most remarkable referee in England”.
Jawahir, who wears the hijab during the course of her work, referees men’s football matches.
Populaly known to her friends as Jawahir Jewels or JJ, Jawahir told the London Evening Standard newspaper : “My parents were not so keen on my involvement in football at first because they thought I was embarrassing them.”
“In my culture, you wouldn’t see many girls interested in football. But I always knew. It really started when my brother was five years old, I’d nominate myself to take him across London.”
Born in Somalia, Jawahir grew up in northwest London with her parents and eight siblings.
Last year, she won the UK’s prestigious Respect Awards in recognition of her voluntary work for the community.
She has also been recognized as a Football Association (FA) Youth Leader.
“According to Islamic law a woman and man shouldn’t touch each other so JJ wears gloves to shake hands with the footballers,” the Daily Mail reported.
In February, Jawahir was named Personality of the Year at the Somali Achievement Awards, which recognizes and pays tribute to inspiring Somali success stories.
Jawahir Roble, es la única árbitra calificada por la FA para usar un hijab (código de vestimenta femenina islámica). La joven de 24 años espera pitar un partido de Premier League y Champions . 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/XDtdtkQ66s
— Estadio (@estadioec) May 18, 2018
Pleasure to catch up with Jawahir Roble who was nominated for the Sports Person of the Year at the International #Somali Awards in #London. Watch her inspiring story @refugeesplus https://t.co/DaGHtDZUf2 #ISA2018 pic.twitter.com/11G5KefySj
— Moulid Hujale (@MoulidHujale) April 4, 2018