Australia

Sydney woman 'humiliated and outraged' after being told to take hijab off at pub

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A 21-year-old woman has accused a Sydney bar of discrimination for telling her to remove her hijab when she tried to enter the venue.

Soaliha Iqbal was enjoying an evening out with friends on Friday when she was left “humiliated and outraged.”

The 21-year-old said she was told by security at the Paragon Hotel in Circular Quay to remove her hijab when she tried to enter the venue.

“When it was my turn to step up and give my ID, before taking my ID or checking it, security just pointed to my hijab and said 'take that off'," Ms Iqbal told SBS News.

Ms Iqbal said she was so shocked, she did not immediately respond, prompting a security guard to tell her again to “take it off”.

Soaliha Iqbal said she was left “humiliated and outraged” after being told she could not enter a Sydney pub unless she took off
Soaliha Iqbal said she was left “humiliated and outraged” after being told she could not enter a Sydney pub unless she took off her hijab.
Facebook

"I just walked away in tears. I didn't really know what to do.

"There were people in line, around us, that were pretty horrified."

Ms Iqbal’s friends filmed the aftermath on their mobile phones, including an interaction with the police, who stepped in.

Ms Iqbal said the venue's manager eventually came outside.

"They essentially doubled-down on the claim it was a reasonable request for me to remove my hijab on the basis of ID," she said.

"It was just constant gaslighting - I was constantly told by all these men that I was overreacting and should have walked away."

Ms Iqbal said the hotel group that owns The Paragon apologised to her via Facebook after she posted about the incident.

The security guard was on his first shift and wanted to “impress the venue… with his professionalism and attention to detail", Ms Iqbal was told.

The Facebook apology received by Ms Iqbal
The Facebook apology received by Ms Iqbal
Supplied

SBS News has contacted the Paragon Hotel for comment.

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