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Militant fashion? A Palestinian scarf becomes hip-hop chic

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Lucky Cerino of Underground Sportswear in Harlem, New York City, holds a Kaffiyeh poster in front of the store's display case for the scarves. (Photo by Lawrence Delevingne)


Kaffiyehs on display at Aria, a clothing shop in Greenwich Village, New York City. (Photo by Lawrence Delevingne)


A Kaffiyeh on display at Connection One Fashion in Harlem, New York City. (Photo by Lawrence Delevingne)


A "Houndstooth Desert Scarf" on display at Urban Outfitters in New York City. (Photo by Lawrence Delevingne)

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The kaffiyeh, the checkered Middle Eastern scarf symbolic of Palestinian nationalism, is gaining popularity as a hip-hop fashion accessory, losing its potent symbolism in the process. Worn by artists like Kanye West, Justin Timberlake and Chris Brown, it's fueled a debate over the commercial adoption of the look popularized by Yasser Arafat and Hamas.