A Muslim man was removed from an American Airlines flight after a flight attendant publicly announced his name, seat number and said she would be “watching” him.
Mohamed Ahmed Radwan had boarded a plane in Charlotte, North Carolina and the flight attendant went to the tannoy and said: “Mohamed Ahmed, Seat 25-A: I will be watching you.”
The employee made no other announcements about any other passenger.
Mr Radwan asked the employee why she had made the announcements. She reportedly responded that he was being “too sensitive”.
The passenger then reported the incident to two other American Airlines employees.
He was told he must leave the plane as he had made the first air stewardess “uncomfortable”.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has filed a complaint about the incident, which happened in December last year, to the Department of Transportation after failing to resolve the matter directly with the airline.
CAIR’s staff lawyer, Maha Sayed, wrote in the complaint that Mr Radwan was “singled out” and “unjustifiably” removed from the plane due to racial discrimination.
“Given the continuing rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric and hate crimes occurring throughout the United States, this type of reckless and harmful conduct should not be tolerated by our nation’s airlines, which are legally charged with safely carrying all individuals who are rightfully present in an equal and nondiscriminatory manner, without regard to their religious affiliation or ethnicity,” the letter read.
“This incident is particularly troubling given the recent wave of incidents in which airline personnel have arbitrarily removed passengers of Muslim and/or Middle Eastern background without an objectively reasonable cause or explanation,” Ms Sayed added.
An American Airlines spokeswoman said in a statement: “American [Airlines] was contacted by CAIR earlier this year. We thoroughly reviewed these allegations and concluded that no discrimination occurred. We serve customers of all backgrounds and faiths and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”
In April, a Muslim woman was removed from a Southwest Airlines plane at a Chicago airport after she had asked to switch seats as she was told she had made the flight attendant “uncomfortable”.
A Muslim family of five were also escorted off a United Airlines flight in March for “how they looked”. They said they had asked staff if there were any safety harnesses for their three children. The pilot told them they had to leave as it was “a safety issue”.