(OTTAWA, CANADA – 7/9/2006) – The Canadian Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) today called on United Airlines and Air Canada to publicly apologize for allegedly expelling a Muslim man and a Jewish man from their planes without due cause. CAIR-CAN further calls on the airlines to commit to giving serious sensitivity training to their crews.
In the case of the Jewish man, he was expelled from the plane after the crew members received several complaints because he was reciting his prayers. It is also alleged that the attendant verbally recognized the man as not being a Muslim and that she was sorry for the situation but they had to ask him to leave.
Canadian Muslims and members of other visible minorities routinely fall prey to racial profiling when traveling in Canada and in the United States. Minority groups have very little recourse when border officials and airline crew members act with impunity against them.
A month ago, when returning from a medical conference in Denver, USA, Dr. Ahmad Farooq was also expelled from a plane after a passenger complained concerning him and his two colleagues. The crew immediately reacted and expelled him and two of his friends from the plane.
“Such action, on behalf of both airlines is completely unacceptable. When people in positions of authority sanction racial profiling based on their own paranoia and xenophobia, they legitimize it. We, as Canadians, need to be vigilant in defending our civil rights,” said Karl Nickner, Executive Director of CAIR-CAN.