All SXSW attendees are photographed for badges—badges are expensive, and so maintaining badge security is important to the festival—and if you try to get your photo taken wearing a hat, the volunteer who runs that part of the process will ask you to remove it. That policy, South by Southwest explained in a statement, doesn’t apply to religious head coverings:
I was just asked to remove my hijab at SXSW Registration for my ID badge.. I can’t make this stuff up #SXSW2016— Ibtihaj Muhammad (@IbtihajMuhammad) March 12, 2016
It is not our policy that a hijab or any religious head covering be removed in order to pick up a SXSW badge. This was one volunteer who made an insensitive request and that person has been removed for the duration of the event. We are embarrassed by this and have apologized to Ibtihaj in person, and sincerely regret this incident.