Jeddah – If the efforts of a 15-year-old Saudi girl studying in Germany bear fruit, Muslim women will have a headscarf emoji.
Rayouf Alhumedhi on Tuesday submitted an initial proposal to design a headscarf emoji to the Unicode Consortium, which reviews and develops new emojis.
If approved, a headscarf emoji will be available next year.
However, a Unicode subcommittee member offered to help Alhumedhi draft a formal proposal which will likely be presented to Unicode in November.
In her initial proposal Alhumedhi wrote, “In the age of digitalization, pictures prove to be a crucial element in communication. With the amount of difference in this world, we must be represented. We are here to discuss the addition of a HEADSCARF emoji.”
She said, “Islam, Orthodox Judaism, Orthodox Christianity and Catholicism all have something in common: The significance of the headscarf or head covering as a demonstration of piousness.
“Roughly 550 million Muslim women on this earth pride themselves on wearing the hijab. With this enormous number of people, not a single space on the keyboard is reserved for them. Most obviously, women wearing the hijab aren’t mutually exclusive to one skin tone, so with the help of the Fitzpatrick Modifier, we would be able to develop an emoji that represents the religious and racial diversity that is present in the Muslim community.
“Hijab in Arabic translates to “partition” or “barrier.” The hijab symbolizes modesty, privacy and religious identity.”
Alhumedhi got the support of Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of online discussion forum Reddit.
He hosted a Reddit live online discussion on Tuesday with Alhumedhi where she introduced herself: “Hello! I’m Rayouf a 15-year-old student from Saudi Arabia, living in Germany. Currently I’m working on a proposal for the Unicode Technical Committee to add a headscarf emoji, for millions of women across the globe to be represented.”
She shared a link for those who want a hijab emoji. The webpage shows 415 requests already made for the hijab emoji.
Alhumedhi has also shared a link to an online petition by Rubab Rahman from Australia for a hijab emoji.
The only social media platform which presently provides a headscarf emoji is Bitmoji, now part of Snapchat.
This article first appeared in the Saudi Gazette on Sept. 15, 2016.SHOW MORE