Grievance alleges horrifying and humiliating anti-Muslim bias by Southwest flight attendant

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In one other incident of flying whereas Muslim, a Muslim girl alleges she was focused by Southwest Airways. The lady from the Dallas-Fort Price space filed a non secular discrimination criticism in opposition to the airline Tuesday after she stated a flight attendant focused her for sporting a hijab on a Could 22 flight, Star-Telegram reported.

Recognized as Fatima Altakrouri, the girl alleged that a flight attendant instructed her she couldn’t sit subsequent to her sister within the exit row as a result of she couldn’t converse English. Regardless of her response in fluent English, the flight attendant nonetheless didn’t enable Altakrouri to take a seat within the seat however allowed her sister to. Altakrouri had been talking to her sister in Arabic when boarding the flight. Whereas she was sporting a hijab, her sister was not.


The criticism was introduced Tuesday by the Dallas-Fort Price chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a chapter of the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group. Altakrouri spoke at a press conference with the group Tuesday about how the incident made her really feel. Along with claiming that she couldn’t seat Altakrouri within the exit seat as a result of she did not imagine she spoke English, the flight attendant allegedly instructed Altakrouri she “would convey the entire airplane down in an emergency” as a result of she didn’t converse English, the criticism stated.

“If I have been to say one thing like that, I might be kicked off the airplane. I don’t perceive why she would say one thing like that. That makes me seem like I’m some type of terrorist and I’m not.”

Whereas Altakrouri didn’t converse up on the time as a result of she was afraid the state of affairs would escalate, she famous that she filed a criticism after the incident with Southwest Airways, who failed to reply. “Me being born right here, I do know my rights,” Altakrouri stated. “I do know when it’s needed to talk up. I’m doing this on behalf of myself and the various different ladies on the market which were in the identical sneakers as I’ve.” Altakrouri additionally stated it was troublesome for her to maintain her composure all through the flight after being discriminated in opposition to, however she did and moved to a seat separate from her sister.

On the press convention, the 2 sisters additionally shared that they weren’t solely shocked and upset by the airline however by the shortage of assist from different passengers who witnessed the incident. 

“I feel I used to be actually upset that the passengers round us didn’t say something,” Altakrouri stated. “Me being born right here, I do know when to talk up. I do that on behalf of myself and different Muslim ladies. I hope this can change one thing with the best way we’re handled in public.” 

Multiple incidents have been reported during which Muslim Individuals have confronted discrimination for his or her look or language. Altakrouri ’s expertise thus depicts the continued Islamophobia nonetheless current within the nation. “As an American Muslim, once we fly, we perceive now we have to behave totally different,” Faizan Syed, govt director of CAIR-Texas DFW stated on the press convention. “That is an instance of a bigger subject that’s taking place in America with our group continuously, the place once we journey, there’s an additional layer of stress.”

Syed famous that the incident was a  “textbook spiritual discrimination and profiling” as a result of Altakrouri ’s expertise diversified considerably from her sister’s, who was not sporting a hijab.

“You might have two sisters, one who wears the hijab and the opposite who doesn’t, and each board on the similar time. One is denied the appropriate to take a seat the place she desires, whereas the opposite is inspired to sit down based mostly on nothing else than perceived religiosity,” Syed continued.

When requested in regards to the criticism by the Star-Telegram, Southwest Airways stated it doesn’t tolerate discrimination and that folks seated in exit rows should be capable of carry out sure duties. “We apologize to any buyer who has a lower than optimistic journey expertise on Southwest and can look into the particular passenger state of affairs referenced,” a spokesman stated in an e mail.

The airline didn’t affirm what standards the flight attendant used to find out whether or not Altakrouri was not able to fulfilling the wanted duties. In response to the airline’s website, passengers within the exit row should be capable of find the emergency exit, acknowledge the emergency exit opening mechanism, comprehend the directions for working the emergency exit, and observe oral instructions and hand alerts given by a crew member.  

CAIR expects the go well with to end in not solely an apology however adjustments and coaching for Southwest Airways workers. “The racism this flight attendant displayed is unacceptable,” Syed stated.