U.S. Sen. Barack Obama on Thursday called and apologized to the two Muslim women who say they were told they couldn't stand behind the candidate at a rally in Detroit because they had on traditional head scarves.
Shimaa Abdelfadeel of Ann Arbor and Hebba Aref of Bloomfield Hills attended a rally in downtown Monday but were barred from prime seats directly behind the candidate because staffers were concerned that they were wearing traditional head scarves, or hijab. . . . .
The women earlier had received phone calls from aides to Obama, who talked to them for nearly 40 minutes.
Throughout Wednesday, Dawud Walid of the Council on American Islamic Relations, who had talked to the women, said that they were hoping to hear from Obama and that he would make clear the behavior would not be tolerated by his campaign.
They also called on Obama to be more forthright in addressing prejudice against Muslims.
At Monday's rally, two volunteers denied the women seating behind the stage, where they might appear in media images of Obama speaking and accepting the endorsement of former Vice President Al Gore.
"Volunteers informed us that we were not allowed to sit in that area due to the hijab, the head scarf that each of us was wearing," the women said. "This incident was unfortunate and extremely disappointing." (MORE)