Italian fashion brand United Colors of Benetton is under fire for launching a "unisex hijab" line in collaboration with Tunisian-Italian rapper Ghali.
The internet is abuzz with confusion and outrage after it was announced that the fashion group has released a multi-colored hijab line advertised for use by both men and women. The stretch fabric items are available for £29.95 (approx. $40.50 USD) each.
The collection was launched at the Milan Fashion Week in September. Tunisian-Italian rapper Ghali had shared a picture of him donning the hijab-like piece of fabric on his Instagram page, and has worn it in several of his music videos.
Activist Yasmine Mohammed, who founded campaigns against the compulsory hijab, took to Twitter to joke about the fashion item, saying "now men can also cover their shame. No need for them to be walking around immodest and naked like animals."
Other users were quick to slam the brand for making light of women's struggles under severe religious repression.
Hijabs are headscarves worn by some Muslim women in the presence of males outside of their immediate family. The veil has a long and controversial history due to its mandatory status for women in many Islamic nations, and has been criticized as a symbol of sexist oppression as a result.
In Iran and Saudi Arabia, women are routinely imprisoned for not wearing the veil. Earlier this year, reports from Iran revealed that imprisoned anti-compulsory hijab activist Saba Kord Afshari was being beaten and forced into isolation in prison.
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