American Imams Sue US Airways

Six American imams have filed a discrimination lawsuit against the fifth largest airline in the US for removing them from a domestic flight and holding them for six hours over what a passenger felt was "suspicious behavior.

American Imams Sue US Airways

Six American imams have filed adiscrimination lawsuit against the fifth largest airline in the US for removingthem from a domestic flight and holding them for six hours over what apassenger felt was "suspicious behavior", The Washington Timesreported on Wednesday, March 14.

"We were humiliated and treated as if we werecriminals," Didmar Faja, one of the imams, told a press conference heldTuesday, March 13, to announce the legal action.

The imams were traveling to Phoenixfrom Minnesotaafter attending a national imam conference on November 20.

They all had valid tickets for US Airways flight300, cleared the security screening and headed for their designated gate fordeparture.

Three of the imams performed prayer prior todeparture. Subsequent to boarding the plane, the six were removed from theflight, handcuffed and detained in the airport for questioning for over sixhours.

Upon release, US Airways and other airlines refusedto allow them to purchase tickets for other scheduled flights to Phoenix.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for violatingthe American imams' rights.

"This civil rights lawsuit is brought to ensurethat the promise of equal treatment embodied in federal and stateanti-discrimination laws does not become a meaningless guarantee for personsperceived to be Muslim," it reads.

It accuses that unnamed airline employees,passengers and the airport authority "maliciously, recklessly, and,without regard to their privacy and integrity, defamed and made false reportsagainst [the imams] to justify legal action."

Equal Rights

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR),which sponsored the press conference, said the suit aims to ensure equal rightsand treatment of all Americans.

"The decades-long movement to advance civilrights in this nation must not be sent into retreat because of post-9/11 fearand stereotyping," said Nihad Awad, CAIR director.

"When anyone's rights are diminished, therights of all Americans are threatened."

But the US airline stood by its employees' actions.

"We haven't seen this lawsuit and so do nothave a comment at this time, except to say that we continue to back the actionsof our crew and ground employees," said Andrea Rader, US Airwaysspokeswoman.

The airline said that the removal of the six imamshad nothing to do with their religion.

"But rather about behavior on the airplane thatled to a decision by our crew members, which was backed by local lawenforcement, to remove these customers from the airplane."

Northwest Airlines, the world's fifth largestairliner, apologized on Wednesday, January 17, to 40 American Muslim pilgrimsafter barring them from boarding one of its flights.

The recent incidents have sparked calls for a newlegislation against religious and racial profiling.

A poll conducted on August 29 has found that mostAmericans support profiling people who look "Middle Eastern" atairports and train stations.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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