The modest clothing retailer says it has moved to a new shipping company over ongoing issues.
Australian fashion brand Hijab House says its supply and delivery chain has been delayed because a shipping company raised security concerns about carrying “Muslim clothing”.
The Muslim modest clothing retailer, which was started in Western Sydney before expanding to Melbourne and Lebanon, said an official from the shipping company TNT told a Hijab House staff member in India that delays in receiving goods were "due to the items being Muslim clothes".
“The person receiving our dresses got a phone call from a TNT (representative) recently who informed them that the delays are ‘due to the items being Muslim clothes’,” a Hijab House spokesperson posted on company’s official Facebook page in a story.
“We then realised the company was delaying our order simply because we had sent clothing with the words ‘Hijab House’ on them.
“We were told that there was a security matter in question.”
Hijab House director Tarik Houchar told SBS News Hijab House had emailed TNT for clarification but had not received an apology, and had decided to discontinue business with the shipping company.
“I got really angry and reached out to TNT Australia and they basically said they didn’t put that comment in writing so it doesn’t matter,” he told SBS News.
Mr Houchar said two other Australian Muslim fashion brands and a US retailer had reached out to him to complain about similar treatment.
“Medina Activewear has had similar dealing with TNT in the past and has since stopped using their services and moved to DHL,” a social media representative of Medina Activewear posted in response to the Facebook thread.
A hijabi female staffer from the US based retailer Veiled collection said she was forced to use her husband to pick up overseas cargo to avoid difficulties in being "visibly identified" as Muslim when accessing shipments.
“One time an officer even asked if I’m a citizen and wanted to see my passport meanwhile everyone else just went through,” she said.
Mr Houchar said it comes after reports from Hijab House customers that parcels delivered by TNT had been opened and searched, in contrast to other products using the same shipping method.
TNT Australia spokeswoman Laura Redman said the company was investigating the matter.
“TNT is committed to delivering a superior customer experience and every customer shipment is a priority,” she told SBS News.
“TNT is currently investigating this matter and has contacted the customer to follow-up. However, to protect the interest and privacy of our customers, no further details can be provided.”
The controversy highlights the challenges faced by largely female entrepreneurs of Muslim small-business fashion brands built on social media.
In 2016, ABC news reported the Hijab House social media page was targeted by racist hackers.
Last year, an online scam actively targeted young Muslim women and girls, attempting to trick them into sending lewd photos via social media.
At the time, Hijab House said it had been contacted by up to 800 women who said they had received threatening messages from an online account pretending to work for the brand.
The Australian Federal Police described the scheme as "grooming".