SXSW apologizes for asking U.S. fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad to remove hijab

Ibtihaj Muhammad
Getty Images
4 Comments

U.S. fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, who is set to become the first American to compete in a hijab at the Olympics, was asked by a SXSW volunteer to remove her hijab for an ID badge photo and later received an apology for the request from SXSW officials Saturday.

“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 a media 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.”

Muhammad, 30, is ranked No. 7 in the world and reached the 2015 World Championships sabre round of 16, falling to Russian Sofiya Velikaya, who went on to win the title.

In 2012, she tore a ligament in her hand and missed making the London Games, according to the USOC.

MORE: Siblings qualify for U.S. Olympic fencing team