Nike Pro Hijab Controversy #boycottNike
In March, Nike announced the release of the Nike Pro Hijab for the upcoming Spring 2018 collection.
The breathable and lightweight Nike Pro Hijab targets Muslim women whom are deterred from doing sports as they have to wear a headscarf at all times.
However, this product has sparked such an intense controversy online that some even threatened to boycott Nike’s products. So why did the introduction of this inclusive product prompt such a huge backlash?
Normalising the Oppression of Women
Nike is criticised by social media users for supporting the oppression of Muslim women made to wear the hijab to prevent men from being tempted.
Normalising the Islamic Culture
The Pro Hijab triggered many ignorant racists (mostly Americans) with the ongoing hate for Muslims due to recent terrorism acts. Many have expressed their unhappiness as the introduction of the hijab may indicate working towards embracing the Islamic culture.
However, Nike also received positive feedback amidst all the hate. In fact, many Muslims have expressed their support for this new product.
Executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, Hussam Ayloush, expressed:
It is always a welcomed move when corporations and media normalize the presence of Islam and Muslims in our world.
Efforts from an international brand with such a huge presence across the globe to introduce the high-performance hijab into the market means taking another step towards accepting the Islamic Culture. This is extremely beneficial to weaken the rhetoric of fear, especially in the Islamophobic Western Regions.
Encouraging Female Muslim Athletes to Pursue Sports
The Nike Pro Hijab is highly aligned with Nike’s mission: “If you have a body, you are an athlete”. This product is a symbol of female empowerment and makes sports more inclusive for women all around the world.
Nike’s spokesperson told the Al Arabiya news that:
We worked with Amna and many other athletes to see what they needed and wanted in a performance hijab. What we heard was that women were looking for a lightweight and breathable solution that would stay in place without concern of shifting.
Rio Olympics weightlifter Amna Al Haddad also expressed her support on Instagram.
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.
It is baffling to see so many Non-Muslims trying to defend the Muslims faith because it seems like they have not understood the purpose of the Pro Hijab. In fact, by attacking women’s freedom of choice to wear what they want, that is being oppressive.