Nike hijab enrages right-wing joggers: 'I will never buy another Nike product again'

Some people have threatened to boycott the brand while others have praised it for opening up sport to Muslim women.

Weightlifter Amna al Haddad  sporting her Nike Sports Hijab

Weightlifter Amna al Haddad  sporting her Nike Sports Hijab

Nike made waves last week when it announced it was launching a hijab for Muslim women to wear while exercising.

The garment is designed to tackle performance problems associated with wearing a traditional hijab during sports, taking into account its weight, lack of breathability and the potential for it to shift during action.

Designed and tested by figure skater Zahra Lari and weight-lifter Amna Al Haddad, the Nike Pro Hijab is a piece of high-performance sportswear designed to dissolve the barriers that prevent Muslim women from keeping fit.

It’s not set to hit the market until 2018, but has received mixed reactions.

Many people have criticized the company, claiming the hijab normalizes the oppression of women. Some have even threatened to boycott Nike as a result.

However Amna has responded to the criticism in an Instagram post:

With the Nike Pro Hijab Launch, I do realize there is a lot of mixed reactions as to why Nike decided to create such a product ‘now.’

“From my perspective as a former athlete who competed in Hijab, in the past, the big brands didn’t see the need or market for it as it was not ‘popular’ and it was unheard of to see women train, exercise and compete in hijab. 

“It is a recent phenomenon where more women have expressed a need for it and more professional athletes have fought for rights to compete with a headscarf, and have an equal playing field. We made it big in the news, we couldn’t be ignored. 

“As Muslim women, we have been vocal in the media about it – personally since 2011 – the big guys can’t help but notice us ‘the underdogs’ and our impact in the sports industry and world. They know that we are here to stay and decided to join the party and create another ‘competitive’ sport hijab in the market, which by the way, did exist in the market for few years now. 

“As an innovative company, they will create products and they will meet market needs – whatever they may be. It is not dismissing any other hard work done in the past to develop sports hijabs, it’s just there is more competition in the market for modest clothing now. 

“I support Muslim women with or without hijab, and how they dress is their choice. And with the Nike Sports Hijab, it surely will encourage a new generation of athletes to pursue sports professionally, and without us athletes who fought for this right and made it happen, Nike wouldn’t ‘just do it.’

“Ps. This is purely my opinion on the matter, not paid for or asked to be written.”

Plenty of people agree with her and have praised Nike for the hijab.

“Every woman deserves the right to choose what she wants to wear and it's been really hard for those choosing hijab to find suitable clothing. This is the step in the right direction so that ALL women are included,” wrote one person.

Egyptian Running coach Manal Rostom taking off with the Nike Sports Hijab

Egyptian Running coach Manal Rostom taking off with the Nike Sports Hijab

For their part, Nike told The Independent: “When we spoke to athletes* in the region, they told us that this was something they wanted and needed.  

And, as it reaches its final stages before production, the garment has also been tested by Egyptian running coach Manal Rostom and Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari. 

Nike’s Pro Hijab will be available in three different colourways, black, vast grey and obsidian, early next year.

“We worked with a wide variety of hijabi athletes to test and provide feedback on this product and sought the expert opinion of advocates and the local community to advise on the design and needs of the region.”

*The asterisk refers to Nike’s brand mission: “If you have a body, you’re an athlete.”


Article reprinted from:  (3/16/2017)