Canadian-designed hijab lets girls play sports safely
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Saturday, November 14, 2009 10:13PM EST
A Montreal woman upset that Muslim girls wearing hijabs had to choose between their religion and sports has come up with a solution.
Elham Seyed Javad, 26, has designed a new type of sports hijab at the University of Montreal, after learning that some girls were forced to give up their love of sports because officials said their hijabs posed a safety risk.
Javad's new hijab, called the ReSport, is form-fitted close to the head and attached to a tank top that girls can wear underneath their clothes. It is made of breathable fabric, and not easily pulled.
A group of girls used it in a Tae Kwon Do tournament this weekend and were allowed to play.
"The main problem with conventional hijabs is that the back part of the hijab would come out of the kimono," said Javad, a University of Montreal student who doesn't wear a head covering herself.
A number of girls were thrown out of a soccer match and Tae Kwon Do tournament in Quebec two years ago when the safety concerns were first cited.
Quebec has struggled with what should be deemed "reasonable accommodation," and how far it should go to oblige to the religious and cultural differences of immigrants.
"It was an emotional shock for me because I do sports myself," said Javad. "It would be a disaster for me to have to give up sports because of my beliefs."
The Resport was developed as a project for the University of Montreal, where Javad is a graduate student.
Univalor, a group in charge of bringing the University of Montreal's inventions to the market, is supervising the commercial development, and they are aiming to find a manufacturer and distributor in hopes of bringing to the product to store shelves within six months.