All Blacks supporter and Sonny Bill Williams fan Rehana Ali had to make her own “rugby hijab” to avoid copyright issues.
The Aucklander captured attention on Saturday night wearing her special homemade All Blacks hijab at the test match against South Africa.
The idea of a “rugby hijab” was suggested to her by her sons during the 2011 Rugby World Cup and Ali said she always wears it on game day.
“My boys decided I am a big fan but there was one thing missing to my All Blacks outfit and thought it was a great idea to have my All Blacks hijab made up for me to wear on game days,” said Ali, who was spotted on camera celebrating a New Zealand try in the 57-0 rout of the Springboks last Saturday night.
Originally, Ali took her hijab to a printing outlet who turned her away because of copyright. Not being one to let obstacles get in the way, the finance worker turned her art to sewing, which she had never attempted before. She cut the logo out of a beanie she owned and sewed it to the original hijab.
“I went out of my way to say ‘yep, now I’ve got the right scarf’.”
Ali said it was important for the Muslim community to come forward and share their identity as it should be commonplace in such a multi cultural country as New Zealand.
“I have a social life as well and being a Muslim shouldn’t make any difference. I am an individual just like you.”
Her message to other Muslims, whether they are rugby fans or not, was “don’t be shy to show your identity and wear your religion proudly”.
“We should all respect one another’s religion.”
Ali was originally from Fiji, but moved to Auckland in 1988 and has since called Manukau home. She has alway supported the All Blacks even against Fiji, which she is not sorry about.
The massive All Blacks supporter attends every match she can in Auckland.
While she loves the entire team, her favourite player is fellow Muslim Sonny Bill Williams.
“I admire them all, but I admire the way he plays and he is a great role model for all Muslims.”
While she would rather be an “original”, she is happy for her All Blacks scarf to go viral and be sold on the shelves.
But she will always continue wearing her own “Ali Special”.