French Sports Brand 'Decathlon' Drops Plans for Selling Runners' Hijab After Backlash
Decathlon initially said the runner's hijab responded to the needs of some runners but withdrew the product after several French politicians called for a boycott of its products.
Source: Decathlon Morocco Website/Screenshot via REUTERS
French sports goods chain Decathlon won't sell a runner's hijab in France after plans to commercialize the veil caused controversy in the deeply secular country.
Decathlon head of communications Xavier Rivoire told RTL radio on Tuesday that the chain won't be selling the runner's veil in France until further notice after the announcement of its marketing sparked a social media backlash.
Several French politicians called for a boycott of Decathlon products and Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said she would have preferred that a French company refrained from promoting the veil.
Decathlon initially said the runner's hijab responded to the needs of some runners.
Three years ago, an all-encompassing swimsuit known as the burkini and worn by a small minority of Muslim women caused controversy in France after some French mayors banned it.
The news was met with disappointment and outrage on social media who slammed Decathlon for balking under pressure.
Décathlon se soumet également à #islamisme qui ne tolère les femmes que la tête couverte d'un hijab pour affirmer leur appartenance à la oumma et leur soumission aux hommes#Décathlon renie donc les valeurs de notre civilisation sur l'autel du marché et du marketing communautaire pic.twitter.com/3AFRAXmPCt— Lydia Guirous (@LydiaGuirous) February 24, 2019
This is so grim. After huge political pressure and a troll campaign, Decathlon in France withdraws runner's hijab from stores https://t.co/Xd4o3k9hlP— Basia Cummings (@basialcummings) February 27, 2019
You can’t decided what’s an inappropriate symbol. And people are told they must wear a hijab overseas and we use that as justification to tell people they must not wear it? Same coin, you just flipped it.— Ally (@Ayyyusername) February 27, 2019
"we cannot abide people who tell women what to wear and therefore we are gonna tell women what to wear" is still a baffling ideological stance— Inspector kyp Belligerent (@KypBellinger) February 27, 2019
WHAT is France’s deal with the hijab?!— Donna The Great ♿️ (@donnathegreat) February 28, 2019
Sportswear brand in France launched a runner's hijab so women who want to wear hijab can run. There was a huge backlash - 500 calls and emails to complain about the product, and insults and threats to staff. So now they won't sell it. https://t.co/4KRFk9O2rR— Jess Brammar (@jessbrammar) February 27, 2019
Oh for pity’s sake. If you don’t like the idea of a hijab for runners, just don’t wear it. https://t.co/jnFKkva8T3— Alex von Tunzelmann (@alexvtunzelmann) February 27, 2019
Shame on the Govt of France for not prosecuting the abusers. This capitulation to bigotry is unacceptable.— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@MuslimIQ) February 26, 2019
Alarming that the French branch of #Decathlon was forced to halt its plans to sell the sports version of the Muslim hijab in France due to racist&islamophobic threats.A highly disturbing indicator for the current level of Islamophobia in the French society.https://t.co/hkX87KMbgY— Mustafa Yeneroğlu (@myeneroglu) February 27, 2019
France, the agressively secular country, has had an uneasy relationship with the hijab over the years which deepened in 2010 after it banned the wearing of face-covering headgear including helmets, balaclavas, masks, hijabs, niqabs or other kinds of veils in public places.
In 2016, the French had been in the news for banning the 'burkini' a piece of clothing made by amalgamating a burqa and a bikini to essentially create a swimsuit that agrees with the Islamic religious sensibility of clothing. Many reports of officers publicly harassing Muslim women wearing burkinis on beaches went viral.
(With inputs from Associate Press)
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