Islamic Instigators Suing US Airways
Six Islamic agitators who were removed from a U.S. Airways flight in November filed suit against the airline and Metropolitan Airports Commission for discrimination. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. Six imams returning from a religious conference in November were taken off a plane in Minneapolis, handcuffed, and questioned. They had prayed on their prayer rugs in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport before the flight, and after they boarded, a passenger passed a note to a flight attendant. When the men returned to the airport the next day, they said, the airline refunded their fare and refused to sell them another ticket. US Airways Group Inc. has said prayer was never the issue. A passenger claimed overhearing anti-U.S. statements and the men got up and moved around the airplane, the airline said.The men said they had done nothing that should have been suspicious. The announcement of the planned lawsuit said "their removal from the flight was based on racism and religious intolerance." Imam Omar Shahin, one of the six imams detained and the president of the North American Imams Federation, declined to comment Monday and referred questions to CAIR. U.S. Airways released a statement saying it hadn't seen the lawsuit, but that its initial position has not changed: that its employees "acted appropriately, and we continue to back the actions of our crew and ground employees in this case." The Imams are seeking punitive and compensatory damages, but names no dollar amounts. The incident prompted the Muslim Public Affairs Council to complain to the Transportation Department, and the Homeland Security Department's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties said it would investigate.