Obamas Muslim female fans not allowed to sit near him with headscarves

June 19th, 2008 - 2:08 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 19 (ANI): Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obamas campaign has been forced to apologise to two Muslim women barred from sitting behind him at a public event.

The two women in headscarves were asked not to sit in view of cameras at a rally in Detroit on Monday, where Al Gore endorsed Obama.

Hebba Aref, a 25-year-old lawyer, told Politico magazine: I was coming to support him, and I felt like I was discriminated against. The message that I thought was delivered to us was that they do not want him associated with Muslims or Muslim supporters.

Aref said that she and Shimaa Abdelfadeel were among 20,000 supporters who gathered to see Obama on Monday at the Joe Louis Arena when the groups they were with were separately invited by Obama campaign workers to sit behind the podium.

Aref’s friend said that a volunteer explained to me that because of the political climate and what’s going on in the world … its not good for her to be seen on TV or associated with Obama.

A second woman was told to take off her headscarf if she wanted to sit in the special seats, The Telegraph reported.

Polls show that around one in eight Americans falsely believe that Obama is Muslim.

Campaign spokesman Bill Burton said: This is of course not the policy of the campaign. It is offensive and counter to Obama’s commitment to bring Americans together and simply not the kind of campaign we run. We sincerely apologise for the behaviour of these volunteers.

Aref said she replied by thanking Burton, but requested Obama apologise directly to her and Abdelfadeel, as well as invitations to sit behind him at a future campaign event.

Obama spokeswoman Amy Brundage said she was looking into the request. (ANI)

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