On Saturday, Ibtihaj Muhammad, a member of the U.S. Fencing Team, who will most likely be the first U.S. Olympian to wear a hijab, was registering for the liberal South by Southwest (SXSW) festival where she was scheduled to speak. At the registration, she was ordered to remove her hijab for a security photo. Ms Muhammad, who wears the hijab for religious purposes and has become a prominent U.S. athlete with sponsors such as Visa and American Airlines, tweeted about the incident as it was happening
And when Ms. Muhammad finally got her badge, they got her name wrong:
Later that day, Ibtihaj Muhammad appeared on a panel called “The New Church: Sport as Currency of American Life.”
“I had a crappy experience checking in,” she said. “Someone asking me to remove my hijab isn’t out of the norm for me. … Do I hope it changes soon? Yes, every day.”
As for sponsors who might object to her speaking out, she said, “If a sponsor wants to walk away … they weren’t meant for me anyway.”
The festival did issue an apology:
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.”
What makes this incident different is that South By Southwest is a showcase of liberal culture and technology. It is so liberal that President Obama skipped the funeral of former First Lady Nancy Reagan to speak at the event.
If something like this happened at CPAC or any other conservative event, the broadcast networks would most probably have interrupted their normal programing to break the story of the conservative affront to the American Muslim population and all the Sunday news programs would have led with the story. But, South by Southwest was not a conservative event, so the networks ignored it as they do just about any liberal error.