Insensitivity has run disgustingly rampant these last couple of months. Whether it is the rhetoric of this election contributing or a simple regression of society, the pungent smell of intolerance is everywhere.
These unfortunate insensitivities have made it to SXSW, the music, film, and tech festival that brings people of all walks of life together to hear incredible panels, and soak in amazing performances. Unfortunately for US Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad, her experience at the festival started off in a disturbing way.
When taking a photo for her badge, she was asked to remove her hijab. Despite explaining the significance of the head covering to her religion, she unwillingly removed it for the photo and was then further disrespected by being presented with the wrong badge information.
“I had a crappy experience checking in,” Muhammad, who will be make history to be the first Muslim American to compete at the Olympics in a hijab representing the U.S. fencing team, said according to the Chicago Tribune. “Someone asking me to remove my hijab isn’t out of the norm for me. … Do I hope it changes soon? Yes, every day.”
In a public statement, SXSW apologized stating: “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.”