First woman to wear hijab playing rugby in Ireland dreams of law career

By Carlos Ramos (@CarlosRamos93)

The first woman to wear a hijab playing rugby in Ireland has told Ireland Today of her ambition to one day become a lawyer for the UN.

Ruba Rosalina Bukhatwa, known as Rose to her friends, made headlines last week when it was confirmed that she would become the first woman in the country to wear the hijab while playing rugby.

But Rose, who is currently studying law at Griffith College, also has other ambitions for her future.

“I will be the youngest to finish college with a undergrad Law degree,” she says.

I want to be the first Hijabi working in the UN as a international or human rights lawyer.

The sporty 18 year-old, who has previously competed in basketball and athletics as well as rugby, has had the importance of education ingrained in her from a young age.

This commitment to education comes from her father, who has lived in Ireland since he was 17 years-old.

“He always tells us how much better the education is here,” Rose says.

Both my parents are very strict about education.

My father has done his Masters in aero-engineering and then a PHD in computer science, so i guess we look up to him in a way

Rose’s father returned to Libya to marry her mother and Rose was born in Banghazi before moving to Ireland at two years of age.

As with the children of many immigrants, Rose feels a tie to both countries.

“I’ve lived my whole life here, I went to school here, all my friends live here so I feel very Irish,” she says.

“Although I am too Irish to be Libyan, and I am too Libyan to be Irish. It’s odd, and you mightn’t understand, but that’s how I feel.”

Rose will be playing for Tallaght RFC and was given permission last week by the IRFU to wear her hijab while playing.

She believes that this landmark ruling will help shed light on her Muslim culture and fight discrimination.

“I am a law student and have come to learn that people will always have their own opinions, regardless of who you are or what you have or haven’t done,” she says.

“But what I can do is show the people who are on the fence about this topic and the people who can be persuaded that all I am is a human who wants to play a sport with no politics or religion involved.

“If this situation helps fight against discrimination of not only religion but all other walks of life then I’m not complaining.”





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