12-year-old U.S. Squash Team player says airline forced her to remove hijab at SFO

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 09: A view of the International terminal at San Francisco International Airport on September 09, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Hundreds of departing and arriving flights at San Francisco International Airport have been cancelled or significantly delayed each day since September 7 as a planned $16.2 million runway renovation project gets underway. The project is expected to be finished by September 27. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A Muslim civil rights advocacy group is demanding changes at Air Canada after a 12-year-old U.S. Squash Team player says she was forced to remove her hijab while boarding at San Francisco International Airport.

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a letter sent Friday that federal and state laws were violated when an Air Canada gate agent demanded that Fatima Abdelrahman remove her religious head covering.

Abdelrahman requested a private area so she could remove her headscarf in private and in the exclusive presence of female Air Canada agents, but the council says airline employees refused.

The August exchange became public when Abdelrahman’s older sister complained about the incident on Twitter.

Air Canada did not respond to an email seeking comment Friday.

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