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Meet the force behind the Hijab Emoji

Apple is soon launching the Hijab emoji, thanks to Rayouf Alhumedhi, a Muslim teenager who wears hijab since she was 13.

How it all started?

According to hijabemoji.org, Rayouf Alhumedhi, 15, was creating a new WhatsApp group chat with her friends last year, the group wanted make the title of the group a series of emojis: one to represent each girl. But Rayouf had a problem, none of the emojis really looked like her, because she’s Muslim, and wears a hijab.

Given the millions of women in the world who wear a headscarf every day, this seemed like a gross oversight.

So she set on a mission to fix that. First she fired off an email to Apple, but never heard back.

A few months later, in August 2016, she saw Mashable’s Snapchat story on how to submit an emoji proposal to Unicode. She then spent two days typing up the proposal, using the dumpling emoji and female runner emoji proposals as models.

After she sent it in, she heard back from Jennifer 8. Lee, a member of the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee who had been thinking about the need for a hijab emoji. Rayouf’s initial submission was a well-formed proposal, Jenny thought, as anybody who mentions Fitzpatrick modifiers knows what they are talking about.

Together, they began further changes and improvements to make the proposal more robust.

However, all emoji proposals need example glyphs. So Jenny asked Aphee Messer, a designer from Lincoln, Nebraska to work on the hijab emoji designs. After several revisions, they found ones that worked.

Jenny mentioned it to her friend, Alexis Ohanian, a co-founder of Reddit, who then arranged for a Reddit AMA on TwoXChromonies submitted for Rayouf. Alexis himself also signed on as a co-author.

Apple will soon release it. She hopes Android users will soon be able to use the Hijab emoji.

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