Nurjahan Saleque, a 25-year-old British neuroscience student, was looking for an Airbnb to stay at while she completes her PhD in Hamburg, Germany. According to reports, she requested an apartment hosted by "Claudia." However, her request was declined. When Saleque asked why her request was declined, Claudia responded that Saleque would not "fit into" her neighborhood.
"I'm sorry Nurjahan but as I saw you were wearing a veil I don't think you'd fit into our neighbourhood," she wrote, according to screenshots taken by Saleque and shared on her Facebook page.
"It's just that my neighbors have asked me to respect their preferences, and I have agreed to do so. We all have to give in to our surroundings in some way or other, and I would like to remain on good terms with my neighbors," Claudia added.
In her response to Claudia, Saleque expressed her dismay and referred to Airbnb's anti-discrimination policy, which prevents the company from rejecting guests "based on race, colour, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status."
"It's a shocking reflection of you to know that you judged me as a person based on a garment of clothing that is meant to demonstrate respect," Saleque wrote. "I'm saddened that you live in such a home and neighborhood where you feel that I could not be accepted based on this," she added.
After being informed of the incident, Airbnb banned the host from its service.
"As soon as we learned about this terrible incident, we removed the host from our community and offered the guest our full support," an Airbnb spokesperson recently told BuzzFeed News.
"All Airbnb users must sign on to our Community Commitment and treat everyone in the Airbnb community with respect and without judgement or bias," the spokesperson added.
On her Facebook page, Saleque announced that she has received an apology from Airbnb and is still in contact with Airbnb to see whether they can help her find a suitable place to live.
"Our mission is to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere and we are always working to improve our policies and procedures," the Airbnb spokesperson told BuzzFeed.
"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."