Ibtihaj Muhammad, who was the first female Muslim athlete to win a medal for the U.S. as well as the first American athlete to compete while wearing a hijab, has revealed that she was recently held in an airport by U.S. Customs agents for two hours.
It’s hard to tell exactly why Muhammad was kept there. She doesn’t even know for sure.
“I don’t know why. I can’t tell you why it happened to me, but I know that I’m Muslim. I have an Arabic name,” Muhammad told the site PopSugar on Tuesday. ‘”And even though I represent Team USA and I have that Olympic hardware, it doesn’t change how you look and how people perceive you.”
Muhammad is as all-American as they come. (Literally—she got that NCAA title three times while fencing at Duke). She’s also spoken out against President Trump’s executive orders.
This is also not the first time Muhammad has discussed the discrimination she’s faced based on her appearance and religion. While attending the South by Southwest festival last May, Muhammad was asked to take off her hijab, as she recounted on Twitter.
She told PopSugar that, while her initial response to her recent detention was sadness, she is “one of those people who feels like I have to be strong for those people who may not be able to find that strength. I feel like I have to speak up for those people whose voices go unheard.”