Nike's debut of their new sport hijab generated plenty of commentary — with some people thanking the brand for creating a sweat-wicking option for Muslim women, and others saying they're supporting their oppression. Amna Al Haddad, a weightlifter in ...and more »
Nikeâ€™s debut of their new sport hijab generated plenty of commentary â€” with some people thanking the brand for creating a sweat-wicking option for Muslim women, and others saying theyâ€™re supporting their oppression.
Amna Al Haddad, a weightlifter in the United Arab Emirates who qualified for one of her countryâ€™s spots in the 2016 Rio Olympics, defended the sportswear brand on social media.
â€œFrom my perspective as a former athlete who competed in Hijab, in the past, the big brands didnâ€™t see the need or market for it as it was not â€˜popularâ€™ and it was unheard of to see women train, exercise and compete in hijab,â€ she writes on Instagram.
Al Haddad says thatâ€™s shifted in the last few years.
â€œIt 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 couldnâ€™t be ignored.â€
Weightlifting was a big part of my life in my early 20s. It was a dream and a goal I wanted to achieve to compete at the international stages. It made me grow as a human being in ways I wouldn't replace. No matter how tough it was. I told myself I am tougher. __ Leaving the corporate world at age 22 was a decision I knew deep down was right for me, even though I had no plan; to create something of my life that I know I will be proud of. ___ There were times I really wanted to let it all go, quit the journey, it was painful; women in sports was still at its young stages in the UAE. I felt alone. ___ I powered through because I realized the long-term vision of doing it, and I know my vision is looking beyond everyday. __ I look back to accept the pain to move forward. Accept my success. Accept the stories. Accept the experiences. I accept. #amnaalhaddadquotes
â€œThey know that we are here to stay and decided to join the party and create another â€˜competitiveâ€™ sport hijab in the market, which by the way, did exist in the market for a few years now.â€
The Rio Olympics were a significant moment for Muslim female athletes, from Ibtihaj Muhammad, the U.S. fencer who became the first American Olympian to compete while wearing a hijab, to the Egyptian volleyball team who were finally allowed to don headscarves during competitions.
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Their emergence in the field highlighted a need for more sport hijabs on the market, which brands like Nike and Asiya are trying to fill.
â€œI support Muslim women with or without hijab, and how they dress is their choice,â€ Al Haddad says. â€œAnd 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 wouldnâ€™t â€˜just do it.â€™ â€œ
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