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Hijab Gets More Acceptance from Business


Fadumo Adan, a lacrosse player at Deering High School in Portland, Maine, wears a sports hijab provided by the school during practice in Portland, Maine. Deering High School is providing sport hijabs with the goal of making Muslim girls comfortable and boosting their participation in sports. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

The hijab is one of the most recognized symbols of Islamic culture.

The hijab is a head covering for women to wear in public.

Advertisers, technology companies and fashion designers are gaining interest in the hijab. It is becoming more popular among athletes as well.

Recently, Apple announced 12-new emoji characters it plans to make available later this year. One of the characters is of a young woman wearing a hijab.

New Apple emoji.
New Apple emoji.

Reuters reports that major fashion and sporting equipment companies are creating hijabs. Nike said it plans a spring 2018 release of a breathable hijab that women can use while exercising or playing sports.

And hijabs are becoming more common in Western advertising by companies such as H&M and Gap.

Muslims are a big market for business. In 2010, the Pew Research Center estimated a Muslim population of 1.6 billion people.

But the hijab’s growing acceptance has limited meaning.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is a civil rights group for Muslims.

It says Muslim-Americans still face discrimination.

Women wearing hijabs can be at particular risk for abuse and other mistreatment because the head covering identifies them as Muslim.

But the increasing acceptance of the hijab might help change behavior.

Amani al-Khatahbeh is the founder of the online publication MuslimGirl.com.

She told Reuters that popular brands of clothing are in a good position to produce social good. She said popular brands can help increase understanding of Islam and improve its public image.

But al-Khatahbeh said including Muslims in advertising and product development should not be all about profits.

She said businesses have a responsibility to support more acceptance of Muslims.

“It can easily become exploitative by profiting off the communities that are being targeted right now,” she told Reuters.

Other signs of more acceptance include a Vogue Arabia magazine cover. In June, for the first time, the magazine’s cover was a photograph of a model in a hijab.

Somali-American Halima Aden received international attention last year when she wore a hijab and burkini during an American beauty competition. A burkini is swim clothing that covers the entire body, except for the face and hands.

Aden posted a video on her Instagram account.

In the video, she said, “Every little girl deserves to see a role model that’s dressed like her, resembles her, or even has the same characteristics as her.”

Bruce Alpert adapted this story for VOA Learning English based on a report by Reuters and other sources. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

symbol - n. an action, object, event, etc., that expresses or represents a particular idea or quality

advertiser - n. a company or person who makes the public aware of something, such as a product, that is being sold, usually for a fee

fashion designer - n. a person who creates clothes in new styles

emoji - n. a small image used to express an idea or emo a small digital image or icon used to express an idea, emotion, mostly in electronic communicate

exploitative - adj. to use someone or something in a way that helps you unfairly

deserve - v. used to say that someone or something should or should not have or be given something

resemble - v. looks like somebody or something else

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