SXSW ‘Insists’ That a Muslim Attendee Remove Her Hijab

SXSW Attendee Ibtihaj Muhammad

Update: (March 14. at 12:54).  A SXSW representative asked that we change the title of this piece from ‘demanded’ to ‘asked’.  In response, we offered to change the title to ‘insisted’ to match Muhammad’s characterization.   

At the SXSW Festival in Austin, TX on Saturday (March, 12th), Ibtihaj Muhammad — an American Muslim Olympic fencer — was casually proceeding through registration when  she was abruptly stopped by an SXSW volunteer who demanded that she remove her hijab for the purpose of ID.

Muhammad explained to the volunteer that the hijab was for religious purposes, but the volunteer insisted that she remove it to receive the ID badge.  Despite this prolonged battle, Muhammad managed to receive an ID badge for the festival.  But what came next added fuel to the fire — the name on the badge was completely incorrect.

With outrage, the Olympian publicly announced the incident on Twitter.

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It isn’t uncommon for these situations to occur in sports.  Religious sport participants have been battling for religious wear for some time, in fact FIFA only officially authorized religious headwear in 2014 after a two-year battle.

The sports industry has come a long way with the acceptance of religious wear, but there will always be conflicting views regarding what is acceptable to wear on the sports ground and what isn’t.  Likewise, there is always going to be an issue with what is regarded as acceptable to wear for ID.

Though, in this instance, it wasn’t in SXSW’s policy to restrict the wearing of hijabs, so the volunteer wasn’t following a conference rule.  It’s not as though Muhammad was wearing a Burkha, religious wear widely worn in Islam that completely hides all facial features.  The hijab simply covered Muhammad’s hair, making her easily identifiable.


The festival organizers did however remove the volunteer and publicly apologize.  In a statement furnished to the Chicago Tribune SXSW organizers say, “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.”

 

 

(Image by, Marie-Lan Nguyen, Creative Commons, Attribution 3.0 Unported)

18 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Cool -late to the party click bait- story brosophine.

    Also from the bottom of your “article”

    “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.”

    So yeah, complete non-story.

    Reply
    • Nothing has changed

      You beat me to it. I’ve been going to sxsw for 7 years now and every year I see at least 3-4 “volunteers” do something stupid. Don’t make it out to be some SXSW race cleansing situation, DMN.

      Reply
    • Paul Lanning

      I see so many non-constructive replies by readers bashing this daily news letter. Don’t you people have anything better to do? If you don’t like DMN, don’t read it!

      Reply
  2. Yo

    “It’s not as though Muhammad was wearing a Burkha, religious wear widely worn in Islam that completely hides all facial features”

    Actually the Burkha is not widely worn, it’s pretty limited to a few very strict countries like Saudi-Arabia. The hijab like Muhammad was wearing ( that only covers hair) is the one that is more widespread throughout most muslim countries.

    Reply
  3. hum

    This is so surprising that Diversity could ever cause any conflict in our culture. Oh well then, we had better tip-toe around the newcomer and diminish our own values so as not to lose the approval of the migrant.

    Reply
  4. Versus

    This is a non-issue. You are often asked to remove a hat or sunglasses as well for ID photos.

    “The sports industry has come a long way with the acceptance of religious wear”

    Why is this considered “coming a long way”? Why should athletes be wearing religious wear on the field? An employer is within its rights to set standards for a uniform or dress code at work, and a venue can set standards for dress codes.

    Reply
    • Paul Resnikoff
      Paul Resnikoff

      This indeed may be a non-issue. I think the test (which we can never truly test) is whether Muhammad would have been asked to take off her cowboy hat for the ID photo. Tough to say.

      Reply
      • top

        BTW the Hijab is an insult to Western Women. It is a symbol of patriarchal coercion. If you are going to live off of Western resources; best not flip your nose at them.

        Reply
        • DaDaDa

          BTW the Hijab is an insult to Western Women. It is a symbol of patriarchal coercion. If you are going to live off of Western resources”
          ..Interesting… So you only see migrants as parasites ? They are also working and paying taxes, therefore you’re also indirectly living off their resources.
          By the way, would say the same thing to jews ? after all , those funny hats men wear and those wigs women wear to cover their hair ( for the same reasons practicing muslim women do, actually) can be “insulting” as well. What about people wearing crosses ? They can be “insulting” as well , no ?
          Something tells me you are selectively “insulted”.

          Reply
          • top

            Yes let me clear that up for you:

            1) economic migrants from the third world are the pawns of left-wing politicians to bolster their electorate base, in spite of glaring cultural incompatibilities, destroying wages and neighbourhoods for the working class.

            2) As for the Jews, they have had this problem longer than other minorities in that they all exist in what is known as a “diaspora”. As a diaspora you are always in a state of living off of a host country. Diversity/multiculturalism equals destabilization. That is why conflict within nations in particular since the Crusades has been ever present to one degree or another. Bottom line: this is a balancing act which can swing either way over time; sometime invisible sometime overt. The Jews to their credit have learned to be very discreet and wisely so–others can learn much from them.

            3) As for other religious symbols, the Judaeo-Christian tradition is what underlies our entire civilization, so at the very least, it has primacy and is not some immigrant religious import; it stands far above those others and is not to be compared; it is what tolerates all others, is a foundation stone in the Western Spirit, whether or not you believe in it.

            4) As for the economic migrant participating in the economy–that is all the politician wants them for–the immigrant should be so lucky to get to utilize our civilization’s infrastructure, and they better be working and paying taxes. Don’t forget, they come from nations/cultures/religions that have failed them and they have failed their nation in abandoning it; they are always to be, existentially outsiders all around. They are fortunate to use our infrastructure; not doing us any favours being here nor did we request them.

            5) Ultimately homogeneity in nations is what allows nations to grow in harmonious and productive ways. This is why certain European countries less contaminated with leftist progressive ideology are able to arrive at more consistent consensus and better direct their future.

            I hope that helps.

          • DaDaDa

            “Yes let me clear that up for you:
            …I hope that helps.”
            @ Top : Thank you Donald Trump, that helped. Nice toupee by the way, much better than your previous ones. Bibles and Guns for the win I guess…

  5. top

    “Religious sport participants have been battling for religious wear for some time, in fact FIFA only officially authorized religious headwear in 2014 after a two-year battle.”

    Moral: stop pushing your religion on those who have never had anything to do with your religion–ungrateful. Quite possibly even arguably parasitic behaviour.

    Could you imagine going into a Moslem country and trying to dictate to them your antithetical values upon their civilization and culture? Unbelievable.

    Reply
  6. Rick Shaw

    Let’s try on some reality for a change. This is a private event. They have rules that you agree to by attending (the same for any ticketed event). If you don’t like the rules, then you shouldn’t attend. While you may or may not agree with their actions, they have that right.

    Reply
  7. Top

    Hey DaDaDa,

    That is, President Trump to you.

    Trump 2016! Let’s make America Great Again!

    With Kindest Regards,

    Top

    Reply
  8. Tom

    SXSW didn’t demand anything, it was one redneck volunteer. In Texas. In other news, water is wet and DMN wasted my time.

    Reply

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