Press Releases

CAIR to Call for Bias Probe After Maryland Muslim Removed from Southwest Flight in Chicago

CAIR logo(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/14/16) – On Friday, April 15, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) will hold a news conference at its Capitol Hill headquarters in Washington, D.C., to call for an investigation of a possible bias motive for an incident Wednesday in which a Maryland Muslim woman was reportedly removed from a Southwest Airlines flight in Chicago without adequate explanation.

[MEDIA NOTE: The husband of the woman removed from the flight will take part in the news conference. The woman’s first flight originated at Reagan National Airport.]

The Muslim woman, who is of Somali heritage and who wears an Islamic head scarf (hijab), said she was removed by police from a connecting flight in Chicago after she asked another passenger to change seats so she could sit by the window.

[NOTE: Dallas-based Southwest Airlines does not assign seats for passengers. The Muslim passenger was re-booked on a later flight to Seattle.]

WHAT: CAIR News Conference to Call for Probe of Possible Profiling Incident

WHEN: Friday, April 15, 11 a.m.

WHERE: CAIR’s Capitol Hill Headquarters, 453 New Jersey Avenue S.E., Washington, D.C., 20003

CONTACT: CAIR Maryland Outreach Manager Zainab Chaudry,, 410-971-6062

“Without an adequate explanation as to why this Muslim passenger was removed from the flight and humiliated in front of other travelers, we must call for an investigation of a possible bias motive for the actions of the flight crew,†said CAIR Maryland Outreach Manager Zainab Chaudry.

American Muslims have reported a number of incidents of alleged airport profiling in recent months.

CAIR’s Chicago chapter recently called on United Airlines to take corrective action after a Muslim family was removed from a flight, apparently without cause.

SEE: CAIR-Chicago to Speak to Media About Muslim Family Kicked Off United Airlines Flight

The Washington-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization publishes a “Know Your Rights and Responsibilities” pocket guide that includes a section on “Your Rights as an Airline Passenger.”

CAIR: Your Rights as an Airline Passenger   

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,

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