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3-min read

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.

News18.com

Updated:February 28, 2019, 12:19 PM IST
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French Sports Brand 'Decathlon' Drops Plans for Selling Runners' Hijab After Backlash
Source: Decathlon Morocco Website/Screenshot via REUTERS
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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.

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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