BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Removed without reason. A Maryland Muslim woman says she was humiliated after getting kicked off her flight because of her religion.
George Solis has more on what happened and the growing fear that it will keep happening.
The woman, Hakima Abdulle—who was wearing an Islamic headscarf at the time—says all she wanted to do was switch seats. Instead, she ended up getting the boot from a flight attendant.
A furious Takoma Park husband is not mincing words Friday morning.
“She was humiliated because of her religion and the way she dressed,” said Abukar Fadaw, her husband.
He spoke out against Southwest Airline because of its alleged treatment of his wife, a Muslim woman of Somalian descent.
Hakima Abdulle was wearing a traditional Islamic headscarf or hijab, on a connecting flight from Chicago to Seattle trying to change seats. She was kicked off the flight.
“I was on the phone with her. I asked them, `My wife don’t speak English; can you please talk to me and tell me why she cannot take the flight?’ They ignored me,” Fadaw said.
The Council on American Islamic Relations want answers.
Police asked Southwest Airlines at the gate whether there was any reason why Mrs. Abdulle should not be allowed to board the flight and continue with her trip to Seattle. The reply was `No, she does not feel comfortable,'” said Dr. Zainab Chaudry.
Flight attendants are allowed to remove people off flights if they pose a threat to public safety. WJZ reached out to the airline for its side of the story. Southwest issued a statement that says in part, “Our employees followed proper procedures.” It goes on to say, `We are not in the business of removing passengers without reason.”
CAIR says that’s debatable across all airlines, especially when you look at the number of complaints across the board. Just this year, CAIR says they’ve received half a dozen; they fear more are never reported.
“It really does create alarm among Muslims,” said Chaudry.
WJZ learned Abdulle was eventually allowed to book a later flight.
The Council on American Islamic Relations has demanded a full investigation and meeting with the airline.
The group has also asked Southwest to refund the flight and undergo diversity training.