SXSW Apologises After Asking Guest Speaker To Remove Hijab
Given the current climate in the States, we imagine that this mishap is a result of Texas, not SXSW. Here’s what happened:
Champion American athlete (and Gold medal-holding Olympian) Ibtihaj Muhammad was tapped as guest speaker for this year’s festival in Austin…while going through the registration process, Muhammad was then asked to remove her hijab in order to take her ID photo, which she obviously refused for religious reasons (which she then live-tweeted):
I was just asked to remove my hijab at SXSW Registration for my ID badge.. I can't make this stuff up #SXSW2016
Since then, SXSW has responded with an apology, revealing that they have removed the volunteer responsible…they also made it clear that what said volunteer did wasn’t within festival policy:
It is not our policy that a hijab or any religious head covering be removed in order to pick up a SXSW badge. 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.
Read more on Ibtihaj Muhammad and her post-incident response here.