A Muslim woman has spoken out and claimed she was “horrified” after security guards at the center where her daughter was set to sing the national anthem demanded she removes her hijab in public.
Colorado-based Gazella Bensreiti, a Muslim American, went to Denver’s Pepsi Center in order to listen to her daughter perform the national anthem in front of the massive audience.
While the mum-of-three couldn’t be more thrilled to get on with the show, she was soon shocked as a security guard stopped her and told her to remove her hijab if she wanted to enter.
“I don’t care, you can’t come in with it on,” the female guard allegedly told Bensreiti.
As the woman added, she offered to remove it in private but the security insisted she does it in front of everyone.
“I then asked if she’d be willing to take me to the side so that I could remove it and show her my entire head in private. Again, she told me no. There were more than 5 white men standing ahead of me with baseball caps on,” the mother-of-three wrote on Facebook after the incident.
After Dorothea allegedly started yelling at Bensreiti, the mother told her she wanted to speak to the manager whom she told she would take legal action against the center.
“He was cordial and left me alone after that. I have never experienced this type of trauma in my entire life. I know my rights as an American citizen. Not only did she traumatize me and my daughter, she infringed upon my civil rights. I have never felt so embarrassed and broken before,” she added.
“I wasn’t sure where to turn with this. What happened is unacceptable and I want to make sure that it won’t happen again.”
After Bensreiti’s story went viral, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, the company responsible for managing Pepsi Center, spoke out to KDVR and provided the following statement:
“Unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding on November 5 when a security agent didn’t recognize that Ms. Bensreiti was wearing a hijab. A supervisor quickly intervened, and Ms. Bensreiti entered.
“We have reached out to Ms. Bensreiti and look forward to engaging in honest discourse that leads to greater awareness and an opportunity to further celebrate the diversity that makes Denver such a special place.”
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