Emojis are no longer just basic smileys forming part of our social and virtual life. They are the universal visual language that is all inclusive, accommodating all — from LGBTQA communities to every colour and race. Hence, there was a wide debate as to why hijab and headscarf emojis have been kept out.
After series of petition and debates, finally, in November 2016, Unicode Consortium said a hijab designed by Alephandra Messer will be introduced in 2017. And tech giant Apple, on World Emoji Day – celebrated on July 17 – previewed some new emojis which it will be adding to its various devices. CEO Tim Cook shared a few new emojis and a hijab-clad girl was among them. The list also includes a bearded person, a woman who is breastfeeding, along with an emoji of a person doing yoga. The list also includes new animals and creatures, and new smiley faces as well. Sandwich, Coconut are the new food items being added to the emoji list. On the animal side, T-Rex, Zebra are on the list. There’s also going to be a Zombie and Elf emoji as well.
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) July 17, 2017
While there were many who were happy with the inclusion, there were also a few who did not welcome the hijab emoji openly.
THERES GONNA BE A HIJAB EMOJI YAYYY pic.twitter.com/L6fmBqwDSI
— RAEESA (@raenb0w) July 17, 2017
I’m all about inclusion! I love that there’s going to be a hijab emoji! https://t.co/jBlhhHm96p
— Мax Tarlton (@MaxTarlton) July 18, 2017
Some of the users opined that it is a “symbol of oppression” and hence must not be promoted. While another commented, “There should be an emoji to show what happens when the Muslim woman takes off the hijab.” Many others pointed out that people should be as welcoming as when a woman decides to not wear a hijab. Few Islamophobics also asked about “beheading emoji”.
— Raheem 🇬🇧 (@RaheemKassam) July 18, 2017
the hijab is a symbol of oppression. by including it as an emoji you are showing your support for the oppression of women.
— Joeymp (@joeymp123) July 17, 2017
There should be an emoji to show what happens when the Muslim woman takes off the hijab. #WorldEmojiiDay
— Richard Elder (@rickthe_elder) July 17, 2017
Let’s talk about how the people who are mad about the hijab emoji also think that telling people who they can marry is totally fine.
— kayleigh oberbeck (@washedouttown) July 18, 2017
@Apple REALLY apple?? A hijab emoji?? Japan is disgusted with you. America is disgusted too. Take this sexist garbage off my phone!!!
— MadamAsuka (@MadamAsuka) July 18, 2017
What next, burqa emoji? Women tried to prevent the enforced hijab but were brutally suppressed. This isn’t cute.
— David E Brady (@davidebrady) July 17, 2017
I’m sick of diversity for its own sake. Hijabs are an element of female oppression. Stop treating it like it’s something sacred coz it’s not
— Jeffrey (@boredjeffrey) July 17, 2017
these emojis should be banned!
— Dr. Moe 💉 (@mohammad_karima) July 18, 2017
Headscaffs? Lol now that’s funny. I guess we shall be seeing explosive vests as back packs next!
— Richard (@1RTFULDODGER) July 17, 2017
Any beheading Emoji?
— José Roberto (@jrwwagner) July 17, 2017
— Michela (@11B_Mic) July 17, 2017
Great, the sartorial oppression emoji, just what was missing. Why not promote idea that women responsible for controlling male urges, joy
— john bean (@johndoogleze) July 17, 2017
It all started in last year when a 15-year-old girl from Saudi Arabia Rayouf Alhumedhi studying in Germany raised the pertinent question about hijab very close the uproar when France banned burkini. She even submitted a proposal to Unicode Consortium, suggesting there should be an emoji for men too, wearing a keffiyah. Arguing that over 550 million Muslim women around the world wear the hijab with proud, she stated, “With this enormous number of people, not a single space on the keyboard is reserved for them.” She also noted that many people Christians and Jews also cover their heads and a emoji would represent them all.