In another deeply upsetting incident of Islamophobia in the United States, a Muslim passenger was allegedly removed from an American Airlines flight because an employee was feeling a little “uncomfortable” after harassing him in front of everyone.
Mohamed Ahmed Radwan, who boarded a plane in Charlotte, North Carolina, alleges that a female flight attendant publicly announced, “Mohamed Ahmed, Seat 25-A: I will be watching you” several times, but did not make similar announcements about any other passenger.
When Radwan inquired about it, she told him he was being “too sensitive.” After the passenger reported the incident to two other American Airlines employees, they told him to leave the plane as he had apparently made the first flight attendant uncomfortable.
The incident reportedly occurred in December last year, but has just surfaced after the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed a complaint to the Department of Transportation. The organization first tried to resolve the matter directly with the airline, but the negotiations were not successful.
“Given the continuing rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric and hate crimes occurring throughout the United States, this type of reckless and harmful conduct should not be tolerated by our nation's airlines, which are legally charged with safely carrying all individuals who are rightfully present in an equal and nondiscriminatory manner, without regard to their religious affiliation or ethnicity,” the complaint read.
CAIR’s staff lawyer, Maha Sayed, called it a case of racial and religious intolerance.
“This incident is particularly troubling given the recent wave of incidents in which airline personnel have arbitrarily removed passengers of Muslim and/or Middle Eastern background without an objectively reasonable cause or explanation,” she said.
Meanwhile, American Airlines is adamant that no discrimination took place.
“American [Airlines] was contacted by CAIR earlier this year,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “We thoroughly reviewed these allegations and concluded that no discrimination occurred. We serve customers of all backgrounds and faiths and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”
Such incidents are on rise in the country. Not too long ago, United Airlines reportedly removed an Arab-American Muslim family from a flight bound for Washington, D.C.
Another Muslim woman, Hakima Abdulle, was also kicked off an open-seating Southwest Airlines after she asked a man sitting next to her if she could switch seats with him.