Olympian from N.J. says she was detained by U.S. Customs

By Jessica Mazzola | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on February 09, 2017

Olympic bronze medalist and New Jersey native Ibtihaj Muhammad, who made headlines during the summer games in Rio for being the first Olympian to compete for the U.S. while wearing a hijab, says she was recently detained by U.S. Customs officials, according to a report.

In an interview at the MAKERS Conference in California, Muhammad told PopSugar.com she was held for about two hours without an explanation. Muhammad told the blog she was "disheartened" by the experience.

"I can't tell you why it happened to me, but I know that I'm Muslim. I have an Arabic name. 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," she told PopSugar.com.

She did not elaborate on exactly where or when she was detained.

Muhammad said she was not sure if her detention was related to the controversial travel ban instituted by President Donald Trump, which blocked anyone coming to the U.S. from seven Muslim countries. The immigration move is being challenged in the courts.

The Olympic fencer has been an outspoken Trump critic, even pretending during the Olympics that she did not know who the then-candidate was. She has since spoken out against the travel ban.

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Jessica Mazzola | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com By Jessica Mazzola | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on February 09, 2017 at 7:17 AM, updated February 09, 2017 at 7:59 AM

Olympic bronze medalist and New Jersey native Ibtihaj Muhammad, who made headlines during the summer games in Rio for being the first Olympian to compete for the U.S. while wearing a hijab, says she was recently detained by U.S. Customs officials, according to a report.

In an interview at the MAKERS Conference in California, Muhammad told PopSugar.com she was held for about two hours without an explanation. Muhammad told the blog she was "disheartened" by the experience.

"I can't tell you why it happened to me, but I know that I'm Muslim. I have an Arabic name. 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," she told PopSugar.com.

She did not elaborate on exactly where or when she was detained.

Muhammad said she was not sure if her detention was related to the controversial travel ban instituted by President Donald Trump, which blocked anyone coming to the U.S. from seven Muslim countries. The immigration move is being challenged in the courts.

The Olympic fencer has been an outspoken Trump critic, even pretending during the Olympics that she did not know who the then-candidate was. She has since spoken out against the travel ban.

 

Muhammad hails from Maplewood, a highly Democratic town that overwhelmingly supported Hillary Clinton in last year's election, and recently enacted a policy declaring itself a "sanctuary city." Town leaders have spoken out against some of Trump's other immigration policies.

Last summer, Maplewood held several events to acknowledge Muhammad's bronze medal at the Olympics, including a parade in her honor.

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