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Could The Nike Hijab Violate Sports Regulations On Team Uniformity?

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Could The Nike Hijab Violate Sports Regulations On Team Uniformity?
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Nike Inc (NYSE: NKE) has become the poster child for inclusiveness in sports, with its unveiling of the Nike Pro Hijab. Hijab, an Arab word meaning barrier or partition, is often used to refer to the head-covering Muslim women wear.

What does Nike have to do with a hijab? Based on feedback and views from Muslim athletes competing in sports, who expressed discomfort at wearing a traditional head scarf, Nike began developing the Pro Hijab.

The accessory is a single-layer pull-on design made from lightweight polyester in dark, neutral colors. It confers the twin advantage of being breathable and at the same time opaque, a requirement for Muslim women.

The product will go on sale in the spring of 2018.

The Forerunner

The introduction of the Pro Hijab comes on heels of the company releasing an advertisement featuring women from the Middle East and North Africa with the caption "What will they say about you." The video ends with the statement — "They will say you are the next big thing."

The Allegiance, The Inspiration

The advertisement is now seen by many as the forerunner of the Pro Hijab launch. Some Middle East athletes and sportswomen, including Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari and Egyptian athletics coach Manal Rostom, were featured in photos wearing the Pro Hijab. UAE weightlifter Amna Al Haddad was reportedly consulted while designing the hijab.

Nike said it was inspired to design the product by the hijab-clad Sarah Attar, one of the two women to represent Saudi Arabia in the 2012 London Olympics. Though Nike's efforts to express solidarity with the women sportspersons from the Middle East is commendable, it has also raised questions regarding whether the hijab would violate the sports regulation of uniformity among members in a team event.

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