Muslim Athlete Ibtihaj Muhammad Was Asked to Remove Her Hijab for a SXSW ID Badge

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Getting an ID badge should be one of the easier parts of attending South by Southwest, the massive Austin, Texas festival. However, for one Muslim athlete, that's not the case. 

Ibtihaj Muhammad is not just any Muslim athlete, though. She's the first U.S. athlete to wear a hijab at the Olympic Games. While the Olympics are OK with her hijab, it seems SXSW may not be. 

Saturday afternoon, Muhammad tweeted that people working at SXSW asked her to remove her hijab just to get a picture taken for her ID. Even though, you know, that would make her not look like herself when someone looked at her ID. 

According to Muhammad, she tried to tell the person at registration that she wore the hijab for religious reasons, but they wouldn't listen. 

To add insult to religious ignorance, they then gave her the wrong ID — that of another hijab-wearing woman who works for media conglomerate Time Warner. 


Responses to her tweets included people apologizing on behalf of the state of Texas. And, of course, there were Islamophobic responses saying Muhammad was asking for special treatment and that people with hats would be required to take it off for a picture. 


As of press time, SXSW has not released an official statement on the incident. 

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Mathew Rodriguez

Mathew Rodriguez is a Staff Writer at Mic. He is a queer Latino New Yorker who enjoys female rappers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Flannery O'Connor. He is a former editor at TheBody.com and he is working on a memoir.

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