Nike Hijab

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Wearing hijab, or al-khimar, is considered by some to be obligatory in Islam, as the quote states "Tell the believing women to put their khimar over their bosoms", all the major Arab translations and dictionaries agree that "al-khimar" means a veil or scarf that a woman uses to cover her head.

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? If the hijab supports Muslim women, who are we (outsiders) to complain that Muslim women shouldn't?

Why do Muslims cover up? Primarily it is due to a verse in the Quran which says, “And tell the believing women to … guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof, and to wrap their head coverings…” I dressed modestly during my stays in the Middle East, following the cultural expectations of both liberal and conservative Muslim countries.

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On hot days in Turkey and Egypt, the Nike hijab would have come in handy. Maybe we should learn to be a bit more open to things we may not understand. The best explanation I could find on this subject was MTV's "Decoded" series. MTV Decoded is a weekly series on MTV News where the fearless Franchesca Ramsey tackles race, pop culture, and other uncomfortable things, in funny and thought-provoking ways. Half sketch comedy, half vlog. Frenchesca is funny, social justice warrior, who gets a lot of flack because the issues she talks about are uncomfortable. 

When we talk about "big uncomfortable issues", I always try and lean in to what the other group is saying. I really try and "hear" the other group. I wonder if we examine the media more fully, are our opinions guided by them? What does the media's voice look like? Who does the narrative come from? Why do I connect to them? Why do I trust them?

This is a lot. But for me, I research everything. I find it like a puzzle and I love puzzles. I admit when I am wrong, when bias comes into play, and change my opinions when true data is presented (you gotta look where the data comes from). I lived in a predominately Muslim countries for over a year and experienced more positive than negative. I was welcomed, I dressed in what was appropriate in terms of "their" culture (not mine), cooked and shared meals, loved spending time with the children, watched soccer, and took in the entire experience. I think if you are going to truly "hate" a group, you gotta spend time with them. Once that happens, I think all people see the human quality and we aren't so different after all.