The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 left a lasting impression in various ways within the two decades that’ve passed since the tragedy upon New York City and the Pentagon occurred.
One issue that’s become the most troublesome is Islamophobia, with many people of Muslim descent reporting continuous incidents of harassment due to unwarranted associations to al-Qaeda and now-deceased war criminal Osama bin Laden. The latest case stems from a 2020 flight on Alaska Airlines when two Black Muslim men were kicked off a flight after a passenger complained of them speaking and texting in Arabic.
In the lawsuit filed earlier this week, Abobakkr Dirar and Mohamed Elamin say they weren’t just kicked off the plane but also banned from flying together on their rescheduled flights that made them arrive hours late to their destination. The men say Alaska Airlines publicly shamed them by backing up a “discredited Islamophobic, racist, and xenophobic claim” made by another passenger who had no real evidence to show concern.
More on the specific details below, via NBC News:
“According to the complaint, the plaintiffs, described as Sudan-born American citizens who predominantly speak Arabic and some English, were sitting in first-class seats on a flight from Seattle to San Francisco in February 2020 when another passenger became upset after seeing one of them text in Arabic. The text conversation was described as friendly banter between one of the men and another person who was not on board at that time.
Lawyers allege that airline employees then engaged in ‘security theater’ by removing the man who was texting and the man with whom he was speaking in Arabic, from the plane. The suit says the men were barred from flying together on the Alaska flights they had already booked, forcing them to board different Alaska flights and arrive hours late to their destinations.”
Luis Segura, a lawyer for the Council on American-Islamic Relations that will be representing both men, believes they were used as “scapegoats,” haunting them even to the point where they haven’t traveled together in the two years since and by instinct turn their phones off when traveling.
Dirar and Elamin seek monetary damages of an unspecified amount, but also are asking a court to go a step further and require Alaska Airline employees to undergo racial and religious sensitivity training. Sounds fair to us!
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