Greyhound Profiles Muslim Bus Passenger

Greyhound Profiles Muslim Bus Passenger

CAIR is demanding that Greyhound Lines Inc. apologize to a Muslim passenger from New York who was kicked off a bus in Washington, D.C., apparently because of his faith and ethnicity.

The 29-year-old traveler, an American citizen of Middle Eastern decent, told CAIR the incident occurred June 29th during a stopover in the nation’s capital, on a trip from New York City to Richmond, Va.

According to the Muslim passenger, he moved to the front of the bus during the stopover because his seat in the back was too cold due to the location of the air conditioner. The driver said he could not sit in the empty front seats. When he tried to re-board the bus after passengers were taken off because of a “problem with the bus,” he was prevented from boarding by Greyhound personnel who said the other passengers did not want to travel with him. He says Greyhound employees treated him like an “animal.”

Several other Muslims, who spoke to the passenger and to Greyhound personnel at the time of the incident, support the allegation of religious and ethnic profiling. Those other Muslims, who where dropping off another passenger at the station and were informed of the man’s predicament, protested his treatment and even blocked passengers from re-boarding the original bus until the station manager agreed to put the man on another vehicle.

When questioned by police who had been called to the scene as to the nature of their relationship to the other traveler, the Muslims replied, “He is our brother (in faith).” They say the man remained calm throughout his ordeal.

“It is disturbing to see that the achievements of great civil rights figures such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. are being rolled back in the 21st century. And like Rosa Parks, American Muslims will not accept a ‘back of the bus’ status based on stereotyping and prejudice,” said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. (Rosa Parks helped spark the modern civil rights movement after she refused to give up her seat on a Birmingham, Ala., city bus to a white rider in the 1950s.)

Hooper added that his group believes Greyhound’s actions violated the public accommodation clause of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That clause states: “All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation…without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.”

Along with the apology, CAIR is demanding that Greyhound clarify its policy on ethnic and religious discrimination, institute workplace sensitivity and diversity training for company personnel and compensate the profiled passenger for the emotional distress suffered as a result of the alleged discrimination.

CAIR has received more than 200 reports of profiling by airport and airline personnel since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.