From now on, Omar Shahin won’t be praying at the airport while waiting for a flight.

“This was humiliating, the worst moment of my life,” Shahin said Tuesday, a day after he and five fellow Muslim imams were escorted off a US Airways jet at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

“To practice your faith and pray is a crime in America?” he said.

The incident set off a nationwide uproar, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties said it will review the incident.

Bloggers and talk radio buzzed about the need to be vigilant against potential terrorists, while civil rights advocates and Muslim leaders cried foul. The national Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called for a congressional hearing about ethnic and religious profiling at airports.

Locally, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas and the Somali Justice Advocacy Center questioned the detention.

Bushra Khan, spokeswoman for CAIR’s Arizona chapter, said, “All these men did was pray, and it was misunderstood. The bottom line is that they were Middle Eastern-looking men … and that scares some people.”


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