Now Reading: Muslim Woman Kicked Off American Airlines Flight for Making ‘Passenger Uncomfortable’
In yet another potential case of Islamophobia, a Muslim woman was kicked off an American Airlines flight at Newark airport for making a ‘passenger uncomfortable’. As per reports, a white male passenger told agents he did not “feel comfortable” with her onboard and after an argument with said male passenger, she was removed from the flight and got arrested.
28-year-old Amani Al Khatatbeh — a Jordanian-American Muslim activist who had ran for Congress this year and a blogger from New Jersey — was present on a Charlotte-bound flight on 14th of November when a passenger told the staff that she made him feel ‘uncomfortable’. The staff responded promptly and asked Al Khatatbeh to leave the plane, without even giving her a chance to clarify her side of things.
Upon this, Al Khatetbeh insisted that both she and the complainant be removed from the flight for questioning as the man had made her feel uncomfortable instead of the other way around. This refusal didn’t sit well with the staff and they called in the police to remove her. Afterwards, she was detained for six hours before getting released.
— Jake (@yesjaketapia) November 14, 2020
— Jake (@yesjaketapia) November 14, 2020
Details of the Incident
The incident was narrated in full detail by Amani in a series of tweets as well as through a Facebook live video that she started filming as soon as she sensed that things were going to go south. Narrating the events soon atfer they had happened, she stated in detail in a twitter thread;
“I had the craziest experience in TSA this morning. An entitled white man behind me insisted on cutting me in line because I was “still taking my shoes off.” When I said he could wait like everyone else, he started going off about how he’s “pre check” and “first class”. He then proceeded to not only shove his things before mine, but then RUN THROUGH THE MACHINE and TSA did NOTHING! Not only did they not do anything, a TSA officer had the audacity to tell ME to “cut it out.” Y’all know if I, a VEILED MUSLIM WOMAN, had the audacity to throw a temper tantrum and run through TSA security, I would have gotten BODIED. I would have been detained, missed my flight, possibly gotten charged, etc.”
Soon afterwards this, she updated on the incident and revealed that the guy who she had a scuffle with earlier filed a complaint against her on the basis of which the TSA staff is attempting to remove her from the flight. “The captain asked me, as a manager, for me to remove you from the aircraft because there’s a passenger on board who doesn’t feel comfortable with you being here,” the TSA manager can be heard saying in the video.
This is the @AmericanAir manager coming onboard to tell me that they're removing me from my flight because "there is a passenger onboard who doesn't feel comfortable" with me. pic.twitter.com/pwBS5NkvAn
— AMANI (@AMANI2020) November 15, 2020
It was revealed by the Port Authority Police that Amani Al Khatatbeh was arrested after this and charged for ‘trespassing and delaying of transportation’.
Council on American-Islamic Relations Speaks Up
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) – a Muslim rights nonprofit organization- has reached out to the American Airlines on Amani’s behalf. CAIR National Executive Director, Nihad Awad, said in a statement;
“Although we do not yet know all of the facts about this incident, we do know that American Airlines has a history of mistreating Muslim travelers. The airline must immediately explain why it singled out Amani by contacting the police and ejecting her from a flight based on the word of a man who had allegedly harassed her.”
The airline has also responded, stating that they are investigating the incident right now. “We are working with local law enforcement and have requested video footage from Terminal A and security. We take this issue seriously and our team is working as fast as possible to understand what occurred and have reached out to CAIR NJ to brief them on our investigation,” said a representative.
The incident, as it was transpiring, can be seen in Amani Al Khatatbeh’s facebook live video here.