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This Muslim Olympic athlete has an important message about the Nike hijab

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Picture: Instagram/Amna Al Haddad

Nike are launching their first Muslim sportswear headscarf, the Nike Pro Hijab - and the response was vocal, to say the least.

 

 

According to a Nike statement:

​The Nike Pro Hijab has been a year in the making, but its impetus can be traced much further back to Nike’s founding mission, to serve athletes, with the signature addendum: If you have a body, you’re an athlete.

But one voice emerges from the discourse as somewhat more relevant: that of Amna Al Haddad, Olympic weightlifter from the UAE.

Along with figure skater Zahra Lari, 27-year-old Al Haddad actually tested the product, which is due to be launched in 2018.

In response to the online furore, the six-time gold medallist shared a statement on her Facebook and Instagram, along with a powerful picture:

 

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

 

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".

Al Haddad told FEMAIL

I felt that people were confused by the launch and I was inspired to raise awareness that with such a product Nike isn't dismissing anyone else's previous work, or oppressing women, that it is simply including Muslim female athletes who require such a product.

It's an expansion and a beautiful one that Nike is becoming a well-rounded brand that caters to everyone and all sports.

Both posts have already garnered responses from both sides of the fence:

 

 

But at the end of the day...

 

Wise words.


More: 35 breathtaking cartoons in response to Trump's 'Muslim ban'

More: Nike has a hijab design for sportswomen and people can't handle it

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