Recently, Nike announced a line of sportswear directed toward Muslim athletes. The Nike Pro Hijab, set to release in 2018, is the first major sports brand to cater to these athletes and its announcement has received both positive and negative reactions. Some have criticized Nike for pandering to a culture of the subjugation of women, while others have said releasing a line of sports hijabs is a much-needed measure towards reaching an international inclusive sports culture.
I am so proud of @nikewomen for tapping deep into an unspoken issue that us female Middle Eastern sportswomen deal with in this beautiful video. When we pursue unconventional sports – or any sport – for that matter, others say: “what will they say about you?” It’s time to change the question and re-define the answer: “How many will you inspire? MANY! Keep your head up high. Keep your spirit high. Run for your dream. Jump above obstacles. Gracefully show your talent. You who you are because God chose you for a mission to make the world a better place. Very honored to know few of the girls in video. Power to #EmiratiSportsWomen @amnalmar @leap.of.hope @zahralari Be proud of yourselves. So proud to see the changes in sports in the last six years ❤. I grow. You grow. We grow.
In developing the hijab, Nike worked with multiple major Muslim sports figures, such as figure skater Zahra Lari, Nike Run Coach Manal Rostom, and Olympic weightlifter Amna Al Haddad. Al Haddad took to Facebook and Instagram on Saturday to voice her support of the Nike Pro 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.” She goes on to state that, though there is a lot of criticism of Nike, the hijab “will encourage a new generation of athletes to pursue sports professionally.” “I support Muslim women with or without hijab, and how they dress is their choice,” she said. There will always be detractors, especially in this era of Trump and widespread Islamophobia, but this move will free athletes around the world from choosing between their religion and their sport. Read her entire post below:
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. Much Love, -Amna A post shared by آمنة الحداد Amna Al Haddad 🇦🇪 (@amna.s.alhaddad) on