Video: Obama apologizes for snub of Muslim woman

updated 6/20/2008 1:00:18 PM ET 2008-06-20T17:00:18

Barack Obama personally apologized Thursday to two Detroit-area women who were barred from sitting behind him during a campaign rally earlier this week because they wore Islamic headscarves.

The Democratic presidential candidate released a statement saying he had "reached out" to the women, Shimaa Abdelfadeel and Hebba Aref.

"I spoke with Ms. Abdelfadeel, and expressed my deepest apologies for the incident that occurred with volunteers at the event in Detroit," he said. "The actions of these volunteers were unacceptable and in no way reflect any policy of my campaign. I take deepest offense to and will continue to fight against discrimination against people of any religious group or background. Our campaign is about bringing people together, and I'm grateful that Ms. Abdelfadeel accepted our apology and I hope Ms. Aref and any who were offended accept my apology as well."

Aides said Obama left a message for Aref.

Aref said Wednesday that Obama campaign volunteers had invited them to sit behind the podium during a rally Monday for the Illinois senator at Joe Louis Arena. But she said they were told that women wearing hijabs, the traditional Muslim head scarves, couldn't sit behind the podium — and in front of TV cameras.

                                     

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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