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Airline Says Man Not Booted for Speaking Arabic

Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, a 26-year-old UC Berkeley student, was removed from a Southwest flight this week for alleged racial profiling and speaking Arabic. “I just called [my uncle] … and he told me (to) call him when I get to Oakland, and I said, ‘insha’Allah insha’Allah (God willing), I will call you when I arrive.’ And during the conversation a lady was staring at me,” Makhzoomi recounted to CNN. “One guy came with police officers within two minutes — I can’t believe how fast they were — and told me to get off the plane.”

The airline dismissed the notion that any passenger would be removed because of racial or ethnic profiling and responded that Makhzoomi was removed for “comments perceived to be threatening.”

“It was the content of the passenger’s conversation, not the language used, that prompted the report leading to our investigation,” the airline said in a statement. “We regret any less than positive experience a Customer has onboard our aircraft.”

[Photo: Southwest]


Comments are Closed.
weero April 25, 2016

Depending on the tone and the volume the passenger praised his deity, this could absolutely meet the standard for 'threatening' in the paranoid modern world. If you cannot say bomb, hijack, assault rifle anymore even if they are not related to the current flight, then yes, an audible "god is great" or the likes would set off the same triggers. I am not defending the status quote but find this unsurprising and it is odd that some passengers still don't get it.

robsaw April 21, 2016

It was the ALLEGED content of an overhead conversation in ARABIC that was perceived to be threatening by another person that may have misunderstood the conversation. A potentially overly definitive statement by Southwest on the unproven content of the conversation.

diver858 April 21, 2016

WN should stop digging, let this one go. Accusers, FAs did not understand the comments, were not in a position to judge if they were threatening.