Sports apparel and equipment company Nike has announced the addition of the Nike Pro Hijab for female Muslim athletes.
As a precursor to the spring 2018 launch of the Pro Hijab line, Nike launched a now-viral video campaign featuring female athletes from the Middle East entitled “What will they say about you?”
“The Nike Pro Hijab may have been more than a year in the making, but its impetus can be traced much further back, to an ongoing cultural shift that has seen more women than ever embracing sport,” Nike noted in a statement. “This movement first permeated international consciousness in 2012, when a hijabi runner took the global stage in London.”
Sarah Attar of Saudi Arabia, who competed in the 800m race at the London Olympics, is the woman referenced in Nike’s statement. She was preceded in competition by Bahraini sprinter Ruqaya al-Ghasra who ran while wearing a hijab in the 2004 Athens Olympics and the 2008 games in China.
Global Nike Spokeswoman Megan Saalfeld told Al Arabiya English that “The Nike Pro Hijab was designed as a direct result of our athletes telling us they needed this product to perform better, and we hope that it will help athletes around the world do just that.”
Nike+ Run Club Coach Manal Rostom, an Egyptian who also runs the “Surviving Hijab” Facebook group believes that the Nike Pro Hijab will finally advance the discussion and encourage more inclusion for women like her.
“For a brand like Nike to come out and say that these people exist and are inclusive of hijabis is a big deal. It not just about making a product available for Muslim and Arab women but it is also giving a chance to those women who are putting off the idea of wearing the veil completely in order to compete,” Rostom said.
Nike Spokeswoman Saalfed summed up Nike’s philosophy. “We recognize that around the world. There are barriers for many people to access sport, and some of these barriers are unique to women and girls. We want to help break down these barriers, and encourage and enable more women to be pioneers in sport.”
H/T: Al Arabiya English
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