Several of the Muslim clerics removed from a recent US Airways flight to Phoenix have retained an Islamic civil rights group as their legal counsel.

The Council on American Islamic Relations announced that five of the six imams removed from the Minneapolis to Phoenix flight have retained the group as their legal representatives.

The imams were removed from the flight after other passengers were concerned about their behavior, which included including switching seats and saying Muslim prayers.

Tempe-based US Airways Group Inc. has defended its handling of the incident. A Washington Times story on Thursday said various investigations into the matter, including by federal agencies and the Air Line Pilots Association union, showed US Airways personnel did not act inappropriately in removing the clerics from the flight.

The Muslim individuals were attending a religious conference in Minnesota and returning to Phoenix. They were questioned and released.

CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement there have been false rumors and statements regarding the imams behavior while on the flight and his group wants to make sure events are accurately portrayed and religious and civil liberties are protected.

CAIR is a Muslim civil rights group. Critics have accused the group of being sympathetic towards anti-Israel militant groups.

US Airways (NYSE: LCC) serves 230 destinations in the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America.


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