A Muslim woman and activist was forcibly removed from flight and detained for four hours after she reportedly got into an argument with first class white passenger over the special treatment given to him by the American Airlines. The victim, identified as Amani al-Khatahtbeh, was travelling from from Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey to Charlotte, North Carolina, when the incident took place.
Al-Khatahtbeh, a congressional candidate, is a founder of Muslimgirl.com. In a statement issued by American Airlines, the altercation between Al-Khatahtbeh and the white male passenger started during the Transportation Security Administration screening process.
Victim Alleges She Was Removed Because the Man Felt 'Uncomfortable'
Sharing her experience on Twitter, Al-Khatahtbeh alleged that the white man had her removed from the flight because she made him feel uncomfortable. "I had the craziest experience in TSA this morning. An entitled white man behind me insisted on cutting me in line because I was 'still taking my shoes off.' When I said he could wait like everyone else, he started going off about how he's 'pre check' and 'first class'', she said in her tweet.
Stating that when she objected to the special treatment being given to the first class passenger, who ran ahead of her during the screening process, a TSA officer asked her to cut it out. Complaining about the special treatment being given to the white passenger, Al-Khatahtbeh tweeted, "Y'all know if I, a VEILED MUSLIM WOMAN, had the audacity to throw a temper tantrum and run through TSA security, I would have gotten BODIED. I would have been detained, missed my flight, possibly gotten charged, etc."
Minutes after boarding the flight Al-Khatahtbeh tweeted that she was being removed from the flight following the complaint of the same passenger. Sharing an image of being escorted off the plane, she wrote, "Simply flying as a Muslim woman makes people uncomfortable.... unbelievable."
Islamic Unions Demand Investigation Into the Issue
According to Daily Mail, in its statement the American Airlines said that Al-Khatahtbeh believed the other passenger, who is enrolled in PreCheck, was getting favorable treatment because he was allowed to proceed through security while she was removing her shoes.
"This led to a verbal altercation that continued through the terminal and on the plane where Ms. Al-Khatahtbeh confronted the passenger and began filming him before taking her seat," the statement read.
Al-Khatahtbeh also shared a Facebook Live video showing the passengers disembarking from the plane after both the parties refused to get off the plane.
According to The Guardian, criticizing the incident, the Council on American-Islamic Relations demanded an explanation over removal and detention of Al-Khatahtbeh."The airline must immediately explain why it singled out Amani by contacting the police and ejecting her from a flight based on the word of a man who had allegedly harassed her," said Nihad Awad, the CAIR national executive director.
In another statement, Selaedin Maksut, CAIR-New Jersey executive director, said that law enforcement must immediately release Amani from custody and conduct a full and transparent investigation into what happened. "Any investigation must look into the conduct of the unidentified man who allegedly sparked this disturbing incident," added the statement.