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Blood donor turned away over hijab

Published On: Nov 07 2013 03:15:55 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 08 2013 10:07:18 AM CST
Woman in hijab denied blood center

WREG

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) -

A Memphis woman who gives blood regularly says she was turned away from a local blood center this week because of her Muslim head scarf, or hijab.

The incident happened Wednesday when Keajuana attempted to give blood at Tennessee Blood Services.

"She told me I had to remove my scarf and I told her, 'Well, you know, I can't.' I said, 'Why today, do I have to remove my scarf?' I said, 'Due to religious purposes, I am not to be uncovered,'" Allen said.

"Due to my religion being a Muslim woman, I am not to uncover in front of especially a man, only if it's my husband. She told me that I needed to find another donor center to go to."

Tennessee Blood Services medical director Edward Scott said they require everyone who gives blood to uncover their head or take off a hat.

"To evaluate the scalp we need individuals to take off the hat or take off head coverings," he said, adding "it's to make sure the collection is safe for the donor but also that the product is going to be usable."

Scott said Allen was turned away because of her low hemoglobin or iron.

Allen said no blood sample was taken Wednesday to know that.

WREG called other blood donation centers and none of them require you to uncover your head before giving blood.

Tennessee Blood Services, which pays blood donors, said it's always been a requirement to check for scars or stitches.