A 12-year-old girl was allegedly forced to take her hijab off at the San Francisco airport in order to board a flight, after already having cleared TSA security, according to a complaint letter sent on behalf of the girl by The San Francisco Bay Area Office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Fatima Abdelrahman, a resident of Santa Clara, California and a member of the U.S. National Squash Team was traveling with her team to Canada through SFO when an Air Canada agent told her she had to take off her head scarf in front of other passengers, despite her request to do so in a private location.
“Taking it off isn’t just like taking off a sock or taking off whatever, it’s almost like taking off a limb. It’s a big deal to me,” Abdelrahman said. “It’s part of my Muslim identity and who I am as a person. So when someone tells me to casually take it off and hurry up, it’s degrading.” An attorney for Abdelrahman is working to negotiate a settlement with the airline that includes monetary damages for emotional distress, immediate policy changes prohibiting discrimination and harassment, and cultural training for all employees.