A Muslim man was kicked out of a Southwest Airlines flight after another passenger hear him speaking Arabic on his cell phone.
Khairduldeen Makhzoomi, a 26-year-old Berkeley graduate, was told to leave the plane at Los Angeles International Airport in April this year.
He made a phone call to his uncle in Baghdad, once seated, telling him about a dinner the previous day and how excited he was to ask a question to the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon.
Before ending the phone call, he said “inshallah”, which in Arabic means “God willing”.
Afterwards, he noticed a woman staring at him after his phone call. First he thought she had been annoyed by how loud he was speaking.
“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,” he told CNN.
He was soon escorted outside the plane and dogs were brought in to sniff his luggage. He was searched and his wallet was taken away.
Following the incident, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed a complaint with the US Department of Transportation Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings against Southwest Airlines for profiling a Muslim passenger based on his race and religion.
“We don’t want this to become normal,” said Saba Maher, a civil rights coordinator.