Texas festival apologises after Muslim Olympian told to remove hijab

14.03.2016

Organisers of the South by Southwest (SXSW) arts festival said on Sunday they apologised to U.S. Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad after a volunteer said she must remove her Muslim head covering to receive credentials to the event in Austin, Texas. The Olympic fencer was picking up an identification badge at the interactive, film and music event on Saturday when a volunteer told her she must take off her hijab before her photograph could be taken.

"Even after I explained it was for religious reasons, he insisted I had to remove my hijab," she said on Twitter.

SXSW organisers said on Sunday in an email that they have since removed the volunteer for the duration of the event.

"We are embarrassed by this and have apologised to Ibtihaj in person; we sincerely regret this incident," SXSW said in the statement.

Muhammad, 30, will make history in Rio de Janeiro as the first Olympian to represent the United States wearing a hijab. Muhammad has become an outspoken critic of presidential candidate Donald Trump, who called for a ban on Muslims from entering the United States.

"I feel like I owe it to people who look like me to speak out," Muhammad told reporters on Wednesday. "When I hear someone say something like, 'We're going to send Muslims back to their countries,' I say, 'Well, I'm American. Where am I going to go?"

After the incident was resolved at the event, Muhammad said that she was issued the wrong identification.

"I was given the wrong ID! From now on my name is Tamir & I work for Time Warner Inc," she tweeted.    (Reuters)

Related articles on Qantara.de:

Women and Islam: On Muslim women and the Islamic dress code

Interview with Fereshta Ludin: "The decision for or against the headscarf is wholly a matter for the woman herself"

The German Islam scholar Lamya Kaddor: Why I as a Muslim woman don't wear a headscarf

 

 

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