SXSW Apologizes After Making Attendee Remove Hijab
Ibtihaj Muhammad tweeted Saturday that she had to take off her head scarf to receive an ID badge.
SXSW faced some criticism on Saturday after Ibtihaj Muhammad, an attendee and member of the USA Fencing World Team, said she was forced to remove her hijab at registration.
Muhammad tweeted that she told a registration worker that she wore her head scarf for religious reasons, but he still insisted she remove it in order to take a photo for her ID badge. She was then given the wrong ID badge with a photo of another woman wearing a hijab.
The incident involved a volunteer at the event, who has since been removed, a SXSW spokesperson confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.
Muhammad was attending the event for her panel called "Sports as Currency of American Life."
"It is not our policy that a hijab or any religious head covering be removed in order to pick up a SXSW badge," SXSW said in the statement. "This was one volunteer who made an insensitive request and that person has been removed for the duration of the event. We are embarrassed by this and have apologized to Ibtihaj in person, and sincerely regret this incident.”
I was just asked to remove my hijab at SXSW Registration for my ID badge.. I can't make this stuff up #SXSW2016— Ibtihaj Muhammad (@IbtihajMuhammad) March 12, 2016
Even after I explained it was for religious reasons, he insisted I had to remove my hijab for the photo to receive my badge #SXSW2016— Ibtihaj Muhammad (@IbtihajMuhammad) March 12, 2016