By Umar Farooq
WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. clothing retailer Gap’s advertising campaign for its back to school fashion line has drawn widespread criticism for including a girl wearing hijab.
The advertisement promotes its children's line of clothing and has been spread through posters as well as social media.
On YouTube, the company released a 15-second video that received more than 1 million views. But the ad garnered a mixed response from viewers, with some saying the girl is too young to wear hijab or that hijabs should be banned.
“Dear @Gap @GapKids your attempts to “inclusiveness” by normalizing “Child Hijab” is disgusting. You’re literally supporting an act of child abuse, ” said a post by Hanouf Mohammad on Twitter.
The ad campaign was not only met with criticism in the United States but also in Europe, where UK ex-foreign secretary Boris Johnson compared women who wear religious headgear to bank robbers, and in France, where the headscarf is banned in public schools.
Hamdia Ahmed, a Somali-American fashion model and the first Miss Maine pageant participant to don a hijab, came to the defense of the clothing company, saying it was a great step to create inclusiveness within fashion.
“This makes me so happy OMG.! ” Ahmed said on Twitter.
The advertisement is aimed at showcasing the diversity of the brand, and this is not the first time that Gap has featured a model wearing a hijab.
In May last year, Gap released a video on Instagram with a woman wearing a hijab. Earlier this month, the company released another commercial with a woman wearing a hijab as part of its fall and winter fashion campaign.