Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Human Rights: So, Southwest Airlines, why did you remove a Muslim passenger without explanation?

On Wednesday, March 16, the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-San Diego) will hold a news conference with a Muslim passenger removed without explanation from a Southwest Airlines flight on Sunday.

At the news conference, CAIR-San Diego will call for an investigation of the incident and an apology to the Muslim traveler.

The Muslim graduate student was reportedly removed from the flight from San Diego to San Jose, Calif., because a member of the crew said the woman, who wears an Islamic head scarf, was "suspicious." No explanation for the removal was given except for a reference to a flight attendant claiming she overheard the phrase "it's a go" in the passenger's cell phone conversation while waiting to take off. (The Muslim passenger reports that what she really said was, "I've got to go.") The woman believes she was viewed as suspicious because of her perceived religion and ethnicity.

"We believe the main factors that led to this traveler being humiliated in front of other passengers were her religious attire and her South Asian heritage," said CAIR San Diego Public Relations Director Edgar Hopida.