French Shop Withdraws ‘Sports Hijab’ over Boycott

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French sporting goods retailer Decathlon has confirmed they will not be stocking a sports hijab after public backlash and threats of a mass boycott.

The sports hijab was scheduled to appear on store shelves in the coming weeks with Decathlon director Xavier Rivoire explaining that the item would “make sport accessible to all women in the world,” Il Giornale reports.

The announcement of the sports hijab [pictured, above, worn by an Egyptian sportswoman at the Rio Olympics] provoked a torrent of criticism from various political figures including populist National Rally leader Marine Le Pen who wrote on Twitter, “Money does not allow all submissions and all provocations. Let us remain vigilant: we must not give up any more to these Islamist pressures that are contrary to our civilisation!”

Even a member of French President Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche! (LREM/Republic on the Move) slammed the garment. Minister of Health, Agnes Buzyn said that while it may be legal to sell the sports hijab it “is a vision of a woman that I disagree with.”

Following the criticisms, Xavier Rivoire announced that the shop would not be stocking the item saying the company had decided “in full responsibility, not to sell this product in France.”

The controversy over the product follows that of the Islamic swimwear known as a “burkini” that was initially banned by certain cities and caused an uproar among the French public.

The restrictions were eventually challenged in court with the French supreme court blocking the burkini bans calling them “clearly illegal.” The ruling came after a poll showed that 64 percent of the French approved of the bans and only one in 20 approved of the burkini itself.

France was not the only country to react negatively to the burkini. In Germany, the garment was banned in swimming polls over issues of hygiene with Heinz Kiechle, the Christian Social Union (CSU) mayor of Neutraubling, arguing that the garment was unnecessary.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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