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Monday, April 17, 2006

The 'Hip' Hijab

Leela Jacinto of the Christian Science Monitor writes on new hijabs , or Muslim head scarves, developed in response to Dutch bans on head scarfs in school gym classes:
The Dutch Commission of Equal Treatment had recently ruled that high schools could prohibit Muslim girls from wearing head coverings in gym class. Girls were advised to wear turtlenecks teamed with swim caps. But some were ignoring the sartorial advice, preferring instead to skip gym all together.

At about that time, the Dutch were beginning to become disillusioned with multiculturalism....

For Ms. van den Bremen, the phys-ed class controversy offered a means to marry her political sense of injustice with her professional expertise. "I realized that if the hijabs did not look traditional, but hip and trendy, they could possibly change prejudice into some sort of admiration," says the young Dutch designer.

Within months, the "capster" [pictured] was born, and quickly blossomed into a business. In four styles designed for tennis, skating, aerobics, and outdoor sports, van den Bremen's head coverings were sleek, safe, and - in the words of a local Islamic cleric - "Islamically correct." [Link]

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