Dubái 14 MAR 2017 - 00:02 CET
Nike has announced a competition hijab aimed at Muslim athletes. Although the product, Hijab Pro, will not be in the market until spring of next year, the video that advances its exit has already become viral. For many women this is almost a revolutionary breakthrough, as it will facilitate their participation in sport, something controversial in conservative Islamic societies and which does not help the lack of suitable clothing.
"For a brand like Nike to come out and say that [the Muslim athletes that are covered] exist and who want to include them is a big step," Egyptian runner Manal Rostom, one of the first to test the Al Arabiya Hijab Pro and featured in the video of the sports brand. In her opinion, "it is not just a matter of offering a product to Arab and Muslim women, but of giving an opportunity to those who postpone the idea of wearing the veil to compete."
To the difficulties that the Muslims have had to overcome in their societies to compete, has been added for years the rejection to hijab of many sporting institutions. FIFA only lifted the ban in 2014; The basketball, FIBA, still maintains it. When international pressure on Saudi Arabia finally sent two women to the Olympic Games in 2012, Judge Wojdan Shahrkhani was about to step on the mat because judges initially considered his hijab to be dangerous.
To the need for flexibility to reduce the risk of drowning in the event of a pull, there was also the challenge of keeping it in place despite the movement required for exercise and not too hot. "The Hijab Pro is made of a single layer of fine polyester and has small holes to make it breathable," explains the text overprinted in the advertisement.
Nike, which last month launched an ad celebrating the successes of four Arab sportsmen breaking local taboos, is now betting on the flip side of the problem: standardization of hijab in sports. Not everyone agrees, as you can see in social networks. Under the label #NikeProHijab there are those who criticize commercial opportunism and even who accuse the firm of "capitalizing on the Islamic patriarchy by putting its mark on a chastity helmet"