A Syrian Immigrant Herself, Marathoner Raises $16K For Syrian Refugees

“Where I live, it's a crisis. I personally, as a stay-at-home mom, couldn't contribute financially and I felt like I had to help.”

A Muslim woman just completed her seventh marathon, but this race was like no other for her. With every footstep in the notoriously challenging Boston Marathon, she was raising money to support Syrian refugees.

Rahaf Khatib, 33, who lives in Michigan, is the daughter of Syrian immigrants. She was born in Damascus, Syria, and later came to the United States with her family. She is also the first woman wearing a hijab to be featured on Women's Running magazine.

According to unofficial results from the 2017 Boston Marathon website, Khatib completed the race in about 5 hours, 13 minutes. She was able to raise $16,000 through the race. She plans to donate the money to Syrian American Rescue Network, which is a Michigan-based nonprofit that helps refugees adjust to life in America.


Khatib said she felt the urge to run for refugees as there was a "deep need" for aid within her community. So, she decided to help them by running for them.

“Where I live, it's a crisis. I personally, as a stay-at-home mom, couldn't contribute financially and I felt like I had to help. This is giving back to both humanity and giving back to the running community,” she said.

“They need support. They are our guests in our country, and we need to be good to our guests. And how can I not help? They're in my backyard.”

Khatib started running five years ago and has raced in the Berlin and Chicago marathons, among others.


In few hrs the @marathonparis will be starting. 2 years ago today I ran my second full marathon there. Only a week prior to our scheduled flight, there was a terrorist attack in Paris. Shortly after, hijabis living in Paris where the target of angry hostile locals. A pregnant hijabi women was one of them. I was terrified. My husband and family were all scared for me being a hijabi running in Paris soon after a terrorist attack. My family and husband suggested I remove my hijab for this trip fearing for my "safety". I'm not going to lie, I considered it. But something stopped me from doing so. I flew into the country did all the touristy stuff with zero issues. Experienced one of the best expos of all (not better then @berlinmarathon expo thu), while looking behind my shoulder every once in awhile just to see if anyone was following me and always fearing that I'll be next hijabi to be victim of a "retaliation". But nothing happened Alhamdullilah. Nevertheless I never removed my hijab on this trip Alhamdullilah. I ran the marathon with a "undercover" #hijabi outfit I put together. Only because there were no athletic hijab I had on me at the time & to stop my families nagging of me being visibly #hijabi. ??It was a HOT day that day and man I would've loved to be in a cute tank and shorts whilst running this beautiful town! Again, I didn't let myself waver, I have to hold on to my identity, to my deen, I'm the flag bearer of my Peaceful religion (Islam in Arabic literally means PEACE) My religion teaches me ,"Whoever kills a person….it is as though he killed all mankind” (Quran 5:35) Now, as I spent the day at a baby shower with family& friends, ppl are telling me to "be safe" in Boston next week. It's sad it has come to this. But I assure them that I will be safe and Inshallah, God willing, I'll finish my 7th #marathon safely like everyone else and that everything will be OK!! This is life of a #hijabi and #muslimathlete ???? I'd be lying if I said running did nothing for me and my spirituality! #runner #runlikeahijabi #boston2017 #marathon #bostonmarathon #beboston #hylandspowered #teamself #beatyesterday

A post shared by #runlikeahijabi By Rahaf K.?? (@runlikeahijabi) on



Khatib also runs a blog where she inspires Muslim women to get active.

"I never really imagined myself as a figure on social media. I'm just an average Joe runner who's trying to make a point and break stereotypes. Everyone I followed on social media was a white runner; running is a very predominantly white sport. You don't see many hijabi runners out there," she said.

She further added that when she started her blog, her main focus was to provide answers that she couldn't find online about running as a Muslim woman. Simple questions that arose included: How do you cover up and run in the summer months? What kind of training schedule do you follow when you're fasting during Ramadan?





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