Southwest airlines kicks off Muslim man for saying 'God willing' in Arabic, group says
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — A religious rights organization has filed a complaint with federal authorities against Southwest Airlines for what the group says was racial and religious profiling of a Muslim passenger.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a complaint with the Department of Transportation Wednesday on behalf of Khairuldeen Makhzoomi.
"The US is the land of freedom. People respect the rule of . How could people be humiliated like this? That was the real shock," he told The Independent. "I lived under Saddam Hussein. I know what discrimination feels like."
Makhzoomi, a student at the University of California, Berkeley, was yanked in April from a Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Oakland after mentioning a terrorist group's name during a telephone conversation in Arabic.
He has said he made a passing reference to Islamic State while telling his uncle about a speech he had attended by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Before hanging up, he said the Islamic phrase in Arabic of "inshallah", meaning "God willing".
"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.
Southwest Airlines says another Arabic-speaking passenger heard Makhzoomi mention the terrorist organization during his conversation and reported him to the crew.
The organization says it is calling federal authorities to hold Southwest Airlines accountable for its actions against Makhzoomi.