Woman told to remove hijab before Denver Nuggets game

November, 2019
United States of America

A Muslim woman said she was discriminated against before an N.B.A. game in Denver when she was told that she had to remove her hijab.

The woman, Gazella Bensreiti, 36, a receptionist from Westminster, Colo., said in an interview on Thursday that she was headed to pick up her ticket at will call at the Pepsi Center for a Denver Nuggets game on Nov. 5 to watch her 8-year-old daughter perform the national anthem with her school’s choir.

A female employee “put her hand to my face and told me that I would have to ‘take that thing off’ of my head,” Ms. Bensreiti wrote in a Facebook post earlier this month. “I have never felt so embarrassed and broken before.”

“I hope that no one is ever treated the way I was treated, especially in front of my daughter,’’ Ms. Bensreiti, who has two other daughters, said at a news conference on Wednesday.

The company also released video footage from the security checkpoint for the will call entrance of the Pepsi Center that showed Ms. Bensreiti passing through the metal detectors on two separate occasions.

The first time, the female security employee could be seen motioning with her hands to her head for Ms. Bensreiti to remove her hijab. The video then showed Ms. Bensreiti gesturing with her hands as the security employee shook her head from side to side and pointed emphatically.

The second time Ms. Bensreiti approached the security checkpoint, the video showed her being directed to remove something from her coat and to go through the metal detector again.

A lawyer for Ms. Bensreiti, Gadeir Abbas, said in an interview Thursday that the Nuggets “have a legal obligation to provide equal accommodations to all people regardless of their faith,” and that the team “did not meet that obligation here. The issue is simple, they just really need to make sure that this never happens again.”

She was able to see her daughter perform with classmates, Ms. Bensreiti said on Thursday, but they left before the Nuggets game. 

Source: NYT