A Muslim American couple was thrown off a Delta Airlines flight by its crew because the man was “sweating” and said the word “Allah” several times.
Faisal and Nazia Ali, who are of Pakistan descent, were escorted off the plane in Paris for their return journey home to Cincinnati, Ohio by a Delta Airlines employee on July 26.
They told The Independent newspaper the employee told them he wanted to them to get off. A French police officer waiting outside was satisfied with their answers.
“The Delta employee then explained that the pilot had decided to ask them to leave as one of the crew members had felt ‘uncomfortable’ in their presence, as the crew member had reportedly seen Mr Ali hide his phone as they walked by, and that Mr Ali had been sweating and saying ‘Allah’,” The Independent said citing the couple.
They were put on a flight the next day, but not before being interrogated again, this time by a US customs agent, who told them, according to The Independent, “You have done nothing wrong, unfortunately this is the way the world is right now. It is Delta’s word against yours.”
The airline said in a statement it is investigating the matter and will issue a “full refund of these customers’ airfare”.
The Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an advocacy group, lodged a complaint against the airline, and staff lawyer Sana Hassan said, “By falsely construing their simple and normal actions into something scary and threatening, it is clear that Mr and Mrs Ali were being singled out due to their Muslim appearance and name.”
CAIR also sought a “thorough examination into the prevailing practices of major American air carriers, including Delta Airlines, and to develop policy guidelines on the objective factors that are to be considered when determining that a passenger may legally be removed from a flight”.