Sports Illustrated Swimsuit features Muslim model in hijab and burkini, but it missed the mark by a mile

Under the banner of diversity, restricting how Muslim women are allowed to appear in public is being celebrated by Sports Illustrated.

The sports magazine’s annual swimsuit edition is well-known for risqué photos of beautiful women wearing tiny bikinis and exposing lots of skin, but for the first time ever, a Muslim model is being featured — and there’s virtual no skin being exposed, outside of her hands and face.

All of which makes for an interesting “swimsuit model.”

Halima Aden, 21, a Somali-American model born in a refugee camp in Kenya, before moving to the United States when she was seven, is photographed wearing a hijab and burkini — which is a swimsuit designed to respect Islamic traditions of “modest dress.”

“Halima Aden makes history as the first model to wear a hijab and burkini for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit,” the magazine tweeted.

“We are absolutely thrilled to announce that Halima Aden is the newest member of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit family, making history as the first Muslim model to wear a hijab and burkini in the magazine,” a feature article begins.

Here’s a sampling of the magazine’s standard wares:

But featuring a Muslim model adhering to Islamic tradition on its own does not prove how woke Sports Illustrated is, so the magazine traveled all the way back to Kenya for the photo shoot — the country her family presumably fled for a better life.

“For her SI Swimsuit rookie spread, we couldn’t think of a more perfect place travel than her birth country,” the article touted.

The first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, where she was a semi-finalist, Aden said it was like a storybook tale.

“I keep thinking [back] to six-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp,” she told the sports magazine. “So to grow up to live the American dream [and] to come back to Kenya and shoot for SI in the most beautiful parts of Kenya – I don’t think that’s a story that anybody could make up.”

The decision to feature a Muslim woman restricted in her attire by fundamentalist beliefs was sold as a pursuit of beauty.

“At SI Swimsuit, we strive to continue to spread the message that whether you are wearing one-piece, a two-piece, or a burkini, you are the pilot of your own beauty,” the article stated.

“We believe beauty knows no boundaries,” said SI Swimsuit editor MJ Day. “I admire Halima, and I consider her an inspirational human for what she has decided to use her platform for and her work with Unicef as an ambassador.

“She is, in my opinion, one of the great beauties of our time, not only outside but inside. When we met, I was instantaneously taken by her intelligence, enthusiasm and authenticity.”

While the liberal media and fashion magazines loved the choice, Sports Illustrated was hit with considerable opposition, to include being asked “what happens if she fails to wear her burkini?”

Here’s a sampling of responses from Twitter:


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