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Flight Canceled Because Two Muslim Men Waved at Eachother

Flight Canceled Because Two Muslim Men Waved at Eachother
Jackie Reddy

Two Muslim AA passengers are calling for an investigation after claiming that they were subjected to racial profiling by the airline during a recent flight from Birmingham, Alabama, to Dallas, Texas. AA states that it was acting on safety concerns, but will be actively investigating this incident.

Two Muslim American Airlines (AA) passengers are calling for an investigation after claiming that they were subjected to racial profiling by the carrier on a recent Dallas-bound flight, the BBC reports. The incident, which occurred on September 14th, involved Abderraoof Alkhawaldeh and Issam Abdallah, who were traveling on the same plane from Birmingham, Alabama back to Texas.

The outlet reports that the two men, who are both members of the wider Dallas Muslim community, waved after recognizing each other on the flight. It was then announced that the flight, which was operated by Mesa Airlines, was delayed.

Abdallah left his seat to use the plane’s lavatory during the course of delay and, upon leaving, observed that a member of cabin crew was standing near the door. Speaking of the incident in a video posted on YouTube by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Abdallah said that the crew member appeared “like she was eavesdropping”.

The passengers were then informed that the flight to Dallas was canceled. Alkhawaldeh has stated that he overheard a crew member tell another passenger that the service had been canceled due to security concerns.

After disembarking, the pair have also told how they had their belongings searched and were interviewed by an FBI agent. Abdallah has stated that he questioned what had happened and was informed that crew members had called the police to say that they were uncomfortable flying with the pair on the flight.

According to the BBC, the source of the crew’s discomfort was due to the fact that Abdallah “went to the restroom and… flushed twice”. Commenting on the incident, Abdallah said, “I felt [they were] discriminating against my ethnicity, my religion.”

The pair were both eventually released and able to catch a rescheduled flight.

In a statement quoted by the outlet, AA confirmed the incident, saying, “American and all of its regional partners have an obligation to take safety and security concerns raised by crew members and passengers seriously.”

However, it also added, “We’re committed to providing a positive experience to everyone who travels with us. Our team is working with Mesa to review this incident, and we have reached out to Mr Alkhawaldeh and Mr Abdallah to better understand their experience.”

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View Comments (6)

6 Comments

  1. KLBGO

    September 22, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    This was a provocation staged by the two gentlemen, to make a scream in the media on behalf of their organizations. We will see more of this, I am afraid, as the political tensions are increasing.

  2. rubystone

    September 23, 2019 at 6:42 am

    At a recent airline representative meeting discussing the issues of flushing twice while in restroom.

    AA: We cancelled flight because of a passenger flushing toilet twice
    United: We knock out a couple of teeth or break a few bones if we catch a passenger flushing twice.
    Delta: We know customers who flush twice on our digital devices
    Spirit: We charge customers for the opportunity to flush twice
    Frontier: We keep rest room non-functional so customers can’t flush at all

  3. Dublin_rfk

    September 23, 2019 at 9:28 am

    Gee, Not only are they a little thin skinned but also assume that their (one flight out of several) was cancelled due to them.
    PS: Welcome to the world of well dressed white men who fly a lot.

  4. pdsales

    September 23, 2019 at 11:46 am

    “After disembarking, the pair have also told how they had their belongings searched and were interviewed by an FBI agent.”

    Fair point, this has never happened to me as an older Caucasian guy.

    “Abdallah has stated that he questioned what had happened and was informed that crew members had called the police to say that they were uncomfortable flying with the pair on the flight.”

    Again, as an older Caucasian guy, I suspect the crew would not call the police to say that they were uncomfortable flying with me on the flight.

  5. robsaw

    September 25, 2019 at 10:47 am

    Waving to a friend and using the Lav is “provocation” according to KLBGO.

    If Dublin_rfk believes the Muslim gentlemen are making assumptions, can he explain why no one else was interviewed by the FBI and why they were told “… that crew members had called the police to say that they were uncomfortable flying with the pair on the flight.”

    More excuses for xenophobic overreactions.

  6. simpleflyer

    October 5, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Robsaw, there are two different issues here and so the headline is misleading.

    That the FBI interviewed the pair and searched their belongings is one issue. It’s a fair cop for them to question why this was done.

    But the headline claims the entire flight was delayed and then cancelled because of two people. This seems doubtful, one would think that the flight would go on after the passengers under scrutiny for reasons fair or foul had been taken off the plane.

    Nor does ‘according to the BBC it was because one of them had flushed twice’ sounds all that convincing, Unless the BBC has news staff on the ground ready to interview air crew for information of this kind for the several thousand flights per day in the US, reports of this kind are just hearsay.

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