Following a teenage Muslim girl’s proposal to include the hijab, Unicode Consortium has decided to include the hijab among new emojis set to be released next year.

A couple months ago a Muslim teen made headlines by pushing for the inclusion of emojis that with hijabs. Unicode Consortium accepted Rayouf Alhumedhi’s proposal and has now included the hijab in its list of emojis for 2017. Unicode has been including more and more religious diversity in their emojis.

Hijabs have historically been the symbol of Muslim women all over the world. It was only a matter of time before someone came forward asking that this large population be represented as well. This new addition joins other faith emojis like a synagogue and prayer beads. The lack of a hijab emoji struck the teenager, who then sent a proposal to Unicode to get it added.

The current generation is moving towards communication that is more visual and pictorial in nature. The rise in virtual communication platforms, such as WhatsApp, has caused a change in the way people communicate. Emojis are now used to interpret the emotions of what is said, to understand the complete message, and sometime even act message itself.

For the modern generation, emojis can also act as a way of expressing themselves. Even as youngsters have several emojis to identify themselves with, Muslim teens did not until now. Unicode took cognizance of this and have included 51 new emojis, including a few like a bearded man and hands held out in prayer the way Muslims do, apart from hijab.

For the teen, this decision to include the hijab in their latest set of additions to emojis symbolizes a forward move towards tolerance and diversity. As an important symbol of Islamic spirituality for Muslim women all over the world, the hijab’s inclusion would be showing respect for their religious beliefs. “The hijab stretches much further than a piece of cloth on your head. It also influences the way you talk, the way you act and ultimately, your lifestyle,” Alhumedhi said.

The new emojis will be released next year.

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