Reacting swiftly to allegations of discrimination, Northwest Airlines apologized to 40 local Muslims on Wednesday for barring them from a plane in Germany on their return trip from a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia earlier this month.

The airline said it will reimburse the pilgrims for the additional costs for flights and “reasonable” costs for accommodations.

“To our knowledge, there was no security issue and this was not a profiling issue,” said the official, Andrea Newman, the senior vice president for government relations for Northwest Airlines, in Washington, D.C. “We try very hard to make sure that everyone is treated the same, and this is an important community to Northwest, as are all communities.”

The local residents who were affected, including Imam Sayed Hassan al-Qazwini — leader of the largest mosque in the country, the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn — expressed gratitude. Qazwini, many passengers and a representative of a civil rights organization, the Council on American Islamic Relations, had held a news conference Tuesday to announce their complaints. . .

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, said he was encouraged by the response from the airline. “This is a very positive step in the right direction that Northwest is willing to apologize and take some blame of the burden, instead of shifting it all entirely on to their Muslim customers who did not make their scheduled plane.”


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