A Minnesota hospital will begin selling hijabs in its gift store to be more inclusive of Muslim patients and health care professionals.
Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital said in a Thursday press release that it’s the first hospital in the nation to take this “important step in inclusivity.”
“To come in and see a collection of hijabs for sale at your hospital, right alongside the t-shirts and sweatshirts that have been sold there for years, means so much to my community,” said Hilal Ibraham, an employee at the hospital and the founder of Henna and Hijabs, which designed an exclusive line of hijabs for the hospital gift shop.
“No other hospital or health care system in the nation offers this. It’s truly a breakthrough,” she added.
Ibraham joined representatives from the hospital for a Thursday press conference, where she said she “first noticed a need” when she began working in the labor and delivery unit.
“Seeing a lot of Muslim women, their hijab was falling off during labor or they were rushed to a C-section and there was nothing available to them,” said Ibraham. “Sometimes when I was working in the ER I would see someone vomit on a hijab and need to remove it.”
Ibraham said the new line of hijabs are “breathable,” “flexible,” and well-suited for “the hospital setting for both patients and employees.”
“It’s designed to not be in their way when they are doing their work, and so it serves multiple purposes,” added HealthPartners Chief Human Resources Officer Anahita Cameron. “I am hopeful others will follow in our footsteps and also look for ways to make their teams feel included.”
The hospital said all proceeds from the hijabs will “go back into Methodist to fund various patient experience initiatives.”
Methodist Hospital is currently the only location to sell the hijabs, but it’s possible the seven other hospitals in the HealthPartners Park Nicollet system will follow suit.
“We are excited to announce a breakthrough partnership with Park Nicollet and HealthPartners designing health care appropriate hijabs for patients and health care professionals,” Ibraham’s company said on Instagram.
A number of efforts to be more inclusive of women who wear the Islamic headscarf have received national attention in recent years. Minnesota’s new hands-free driving law, for instance, makes an exception for the use “of a scarf or hijab or other items of clothing to hold a device in a hands-free manner.”
“Having a cell phone tucked into a headscarf or head wrap is not against the hands-free cell phone law. The phone must be securely situated to remain hands-free and must not block the driver’s vision in any way,” states the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
In January, Congress voted to suspend its 181-year-old headwear ban for Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05).
“No one puts a scarf on my head but me. It’s my choice—one protected by the First Amendment,” Omar wrote shortly after she was elected to Congress. “And this is not the last ban I’m going to work to lift.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital” by ParkNicollet. CC BY-SA 3.0.