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This Student Was Rejected By An Airbnb Host Because Of Her Hijab And Airbnb Banned The Host

A spokesperson for Airbnb said, “As soon as we learned about this terrible incident, we removed the host from our community and offered the guest our full support.”

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This is 25-year-old Nurjahan Saleque, a British neuroscience student doing her PhD in Hamburg, Germany.

Nurjahan Saleque

Saleque told BuzzFeed News that she saw an apartment closer to the city centre that was perfect for her, so she inquired about booking it.

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But she then noticed that her request was declined.

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The host responded: “Im sorry Nurjahan but as I saw you were wearing a veil I don't think you'd fit into our neighborhood.” The host added that the apartment in question was available.

Luckily, Saleque still had access to the old place she was staying in.She told BuzzFeed News: “Fortunately, I was not stranded because I still had the current flat I was staying in and simply was doing a search to move from here from December onwards.”
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Luckily, Saleque still had access to the old place she was staying in.

She told BuzzFeed News: “Fortunately, I was not stranded because I still had the current flat I was staying in and simply was doing a search to move from here from December onwards.”

Saleque said: “I had to re-read it as I thought I was mistaken.” She sought advice from a few friends and sent a lengthy response to the host expressing how disappointed she and telling her that she had broken the Airbnb policy.

Saleque cited Airbnb's nondiscrimination policy which says hosts may not “Decline a guest based on race, colour, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.”
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Saleque cited Airbnb's nondiscrimination policy which says hosts may not “Decline a guest based on race, colour, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.”

Saleque's friends started a social media campaign to support her, using the hashtag #RacistAirbnb.

The comments of Airbnb's Instagram page were flooded with #JusticeForNurjahan.

Saleque said she got in touch with Nashiha Pervin, a social media figure and an advocate for the rights of Muslim women. Pervin ended up sharing an Instagram story about what happened to Saleque.

She said that two people who had been tweeting received a response from Airbnb before she did.

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Saleque said that Airbnb got in touch first with people who were tweeting the company on her behalf, including her friend Mohamed.

“I did hours before this so even though they seemed concerned and keen to tackle this issue, they weren't responding anywhere other than Twitter,” Saleque said. “As the word started getting out and this started to become viral, the first response by Airbnb was that the listing had become unavailable. “My friends notified me of this and I confirmed but I still hadn't heard from Airbnb directly until 12:30am.”She said her case had been referred to a customer service specialist.Saleque says she asked for an apology from Airbnb and the host and that the host should be banned from the platform.She says Airbnb got an apology from the specialist, who offered personal support in finding a suitable place and told her the host had been banned from Airbnb. She says Airbnb gave her money to assist her in her search.In the end, Saleque said she found it difficult to find a new Airbnb property to stay at and decided to get a flatshare instead.
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“I did hours before this so even though they seemed concerned and keen to tackle this issue, they weren't responding anywhere other than Twitter,” Saleque said.

“As the word started getting out and this started to become viral, the first response by Airbnb was that the listing had become unavailable.

“My friends notified me of this and I confirmed but I still hadn't heard from Airbnb directly until 12:30am.”

She said her case had been referred to a customer service specialist.

Saleque says she asked for an apology from Airbnb and the host and that the host should be banned from the platform.

She says Airbnb got an apology from the specialist, who offered personal support in finding a suitable place and told her the host had been banned from Airbnb. She says Airbnb gave her money to assist her in her search.

In the end, Saleque said she found it difficult to find a new Airbnb property to stay at and decided to get a flatshare instead.

Airbnb told BuzzFeed News in a statement that it had removed the host and offered Saleque its full support.

“As soon as we learned about this terrible incident, we removed the host from our community and offered the guest our full support,” a spokesperson said.

“All Airbnb users must sign on to our Community Commitment and treat everyone in the Airbnb community with respect and without judgement or bias.

“Our mission is to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere and we are always working to improve our policies and procedures. We will continue to work with our community and representatives from civil rights groups to ensure we are doing all we can to fight discrimination and bias and achieve our mission.”

BuzzFeed News has contacted the host for comment but had not received any at the time of publication.

Ikran is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Ikran Dahir at ikran.dahir@buzzfeed.com.

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