Press Releases

Seattle Interfaith Leaders to Seek Probe of Imam’s Forced Removal from Delta Flight

delta-airlinesIncident part of nationwide trend of Muslim religious leaders being forcibly removed from flights

(SEATTLE, WA, 3/31/2014) — On Tuesday, April 1, the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA), along with a group of pastors, rabbis, imams, and labor leaders, will hold a news conference to ask Delta Air Lines and the U.S. Department of Transportation to investigate the apparently bias-motivated removal earlier this month of a Seattle-area imam (Muslim religious leader) from a flight by Delta employees.

The imam, who is a Delta Platinum Elite member, was forced to disembark his flight and take another flight. He was reportedly informed by the Delta employee who escorted him off the plane that this was being done because a crew member judged “the way you used the restroom” to be “doubtful.”

WHAT: Seattle Interfaith Leaders to Seek Probe of Imam's Forced Removal from Delta Flight
WHEN: Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 10:30 a.m.
WHERE: SeaTac International Airport, Delta Airlines Ticketing Area
CONTACT: CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari, 206-367-4081 or 206-931-3655, abukhari@cair.com

“The Department of Transportation must investigate this shocking incident to hold Delta Air Lines accountable for discriminating against a respected religious leader,” said CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari. “Not all passengers who go to the bathroom get kicked off their flight, so Delta's discriminatory act was due solely to the imam's perceived racial, ethnic and religious affiliation.”

Bukhari noted that there have been a number of similar incidents nationwide in which Muslim leaders and community members have been forcibly removed from airplanes after boarding due to their language, religious attire or appearance.

Video: Muslims Call Plane Incident Islamophobia
Video: Family in Muslim Clothing Ejected from Flight
Video: AirTran Apologizes to Muslims Kicked Off Plane

In 2011, CAIR and United Firm of Carolina Law (UFC Law) announced the filing of a lawsuit against Delta Air Lines and Atlantic Southeast Airlines for removing two imams from a flight to a conference on Islamophobia in Charlotte, N.C.

Video: Tenn. Muslim Leaders Sue Delta for Discrimination (CAIR)

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-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari, 206-367-4081 or 206-931-3655, abukhari@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171, arubin@cair.com

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