In another unfortunate example of discrimination and anti-Islam bigotry plaguing the country, United Airlines on Wednesday removed an Arab-American Muslim family from a flight bound for Washington, D.C.
Chicago resident Eaman-Amy Saad Shebley shared her harrowing experience in a Facebook post, detailing how her husband and their three young kids were going on a vacation when a crew member asked them to leave the plane. Asking for the reason behind the seemingly Islamophobic decision, the airline responded with a cryptic “flight safety issue,” but Shebley believes it was just what it appeared to be — discrimination.
“Shame on you #unitedAirlines for profiling my family and me for no reason other than how we look and kicking us off the plane for ‘safety flight issues’ on our flight to DC for the kids spring break,” the social media post reads. “My three kids are too young to have experienced this.”
In her message, Shebley also mentioned Northwestern University chaplain Tahera Ahmad, a Muslim woman who suffered alleged racial discrimination in the United Airlines flight in May 2015 when the flight attendant refused to give her an unopened can fearing she might “use it as a weapon.”
The woman also shared two videos of the incident, showing a United Airlines flight attendant asking the family to leave the plane.
Meanwhile, United Airlines said in a statement the family was rebooked “on a later flight because of concerns about their child’s safety seat, which did not comply with federal safety regulations,” adding that they “have zero tolerance for discrimination.”
As WBIV reports, the family had inquired about five-point harness safety seats for their children shortly before they were removed from the plane. Interestingly, the flight crew didn’t explain what they exactly meant by “flight safety issues” before kicking Shebley’s family off.
The woman has also reached out to the Council on American–Islamic Relations.
“I think it’s clear that if one of the passengers hadn’t been wearing a headscarf and if they didn’t look a certain way this wouldn’t have happened,” CAIR told BuzzFeed News. “The response they gave just doesn’t add up. We need more answers.”