Press Releases

CAIR to React to MN ‘Flying While Muslim’ Incident

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful



Six Imams removed from US Airways flight apparently because of prayers

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/21/06) – On Tuesday, November 21, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) will hold a news conference at its Washington, D.C., headquarters in reaction to what the civil rights group calls a “flying while Muslim” incident in Minnesota.

WHAT: CAIR Reacts to Removal of Imams from US Airways Flight in Minnesota
WHEN: Tuesday, November 21, 3 p.m. (Eastern)
WHERE: CAIR’s Capitol Hill Headquarters, 453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:

Six Imams, or Islamic religious leaders, were taken off a US Airways flight at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Monday night because of “suspicious activity.” The Imams, who were handcuffed and questioned for several hours by authorities before being released, told CAIR they suspect the “suspicious activity” cited by authorities was the performance of normal evening prayers offered by members of the group in the airport before boarding the flight.

The detained Imams also denied reports that they refused to leave the plane or that they chanted “Allah” as they were escorted from the flight. US Airways refused to allow the Imams to take another flight or to assist them in obtaining tickets on another airline.

SEE: 6 Imams Removed From Twin Cities Flight (AP)
SEE ALSO: US Airways Statement Regarding Flight 300

CAIR recently dealt with another case involving US Airways and its refusal to transport a Muslim passenger following a similar incident in West Virginia.

SEE: Detained Muslim Accuses Airport of Bias

All of the detained Imams, several of whom are from Arizona, were in Minnesota to attend a conference of the North American Imams Federation (NAIF). A representative of the FBI was invited to attend the conference.

CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail:


Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833


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