The Zouds find their rugby home in Petersham

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Zoud family have found their place in rugby, and they’re forever grateful for it.

Khaled and Raja Zoud, first heard about the local rugby club, Petersham in Sydney's inner west, through their children’s friends and it wasn’t long before the whole family was involved, including their four children - Zacariah, Isaac, Jemima and Noah.

The practicing Muslim family have been embraced at the club, a small sense of belonging that Raja said the family were truly appreciate of.

“The kids realise there’s a discussion happening right around us, but the minute they stand by their team members, there’s no difference between them,” Raja said.

“Their identity, their social standing, all of that just goes away and it’s about how good you can play and how good you can play for our team.

Raja and Khaled Zoud with daughter Jemima. Photo: Supplied“It was a way of communicating and connecting with the wider community.

“We’ve been welcomed in so many ways and I’ve had some families walk up to me and say ,’it’s really good you’re here. You stand out because of your hijab, but you’re welcome.”

Gestures as simple as those, or even allowing the children to pray during sessions if necessary and embracing the diversity of their club have not gone unnoticed by Khaled.

“I think it's just nice - we meet new people, because we go to the club,” he said.

“They recently had their welcome back lunch, so we bring our traditional food along and everyone's got their sausage on the barbie and then there was like a mix of cultures and food, so there was sausages with tabbouleh and things like that.

“You meet a lot of friends and it's good for the children.”

The Zoud family are just one face of Rugby Australia’s #PartOfMore campaign. See more here.