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Muslim couple evicted from US bound flight for ‘sweating’, saying ‘Allah’: Report

India TV News Desk Paris 05 Aug 2016, 18:44:55 PM IST
India TV News Desk

A Pakistani-American couple has accused Delta Air Lines of Islamophobia claiming they were kicked off a US-bound flight as their presence made a crew member  "uncomfortable" 

The couple said that they were thrown off a flight from Paris to Cincinnati, Ohio after the crew member had noticed that they were "sweating", saying "Allah" and texting.

"We asked if we should get our stuff and he said, 'Yes, take all of your stuff as you won't be on that flight'," Ms Ali told The Independent. "That was really alarming."

Nazia, 34, had removed her sneakers, finished sending a text message to her parents and was putting on headphones and settling into her seat for the nine-hour flight from Paris to Cincinnati when a Delta Air Lines crew member approached her and husband, Faisal.

A flight crew member had complained to the pilot that she was uncomfortable with the Muslim couple, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

The woman was wearing a head scarf and using a phone, and the man was sweating, she allegedly told the pilot.

The flight attendant also claimed that Faisal tried to hide his cell phone and that she had heard the couple use the word 'Allah'.

The pilot contacted the ground crew and would not take off until couple was removed.

"We had been in our seats for 45 minutes," Nazia said on Thursday in the Cincinnati area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

"The ground agent said, 'Can you step out with me? We'd like to ask you a few questions.' So I said, 'Do you want us to get our things?' And he said, 'Yes, please grab all of your personal belongings. You're not going to be on this flight'," Nazia said recounting the July 26 incident.

They were interrogated by a French police officer about their stay in Paris -- the couple had been enjoying a brief holiday in the capital city for their 10th wedding anniversary, media reports said.

After the interrogation, the officer said he had no problem with them and there was nothing else he could ask the couple.

In the wake of the couple's removal from the flight, the Muslim advocacy group has filed a religious profiling complaint against Delta Air Lines to the US Department of Transportation "We call on the US Department of Transportation to conduct a thorough examination into the prevailing practices of major American air carriers, including Delta Air Lines, and to develop policy guidelines on the objective factors that are to be considered when determining that a passenger may legally be removed from a flight," CAIR-Cincinnati attorney Sana Hassan said.

Faisal and Nazia Ali are US citizens originally from Pakistan. They were returning home after visiting London and Paris to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary.

(PTI inputs)