The hijab has been a controversial topic in global sport. While the sabre fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first American athlete to wear one while competing at the Rio Olympics in 2016, many other hijab-clad athletes routinely come under fire from sporting federations.
The US sportswear giant Nike has taken a stand against this discrimination by announcing plans to launch the Pro Hijab next year. The specially-designed garment will tackle performance problems associated with wearing a traditional hijab during sports, taking into account its weight, lack of breathability and the potential for it to move about during action.
The move is a timely combination of empowerment and merchandising as an increasing number of Muslim women are pursuing professional sports. In addition, the company wields a good deal of influence in sports globally, which is important at a time when many in the West continue to have negative perceptions about the hijab.