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


CHICAGO - APRIL 3:  A Southwest Airlines jet takes off at Midway Airport April 3, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois. Officials from Southwest and other airlines will testify at a safety hearing on Capitol Hill today following recent cancellations of flights by Southwest, United, American and Delta airlines as jets were taken out of service for safety inspections.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

In one other incident of flying whereas Muslim, a Muslim girl alleges she was focused by Southwest Airways. The lady from the Dallas-Fort Value space filed a spiritual discrimination grievance towards the airline Tuesday after she stated a flight attendant focused her for sporting a hijab on a Might 22 flight, Star-Telegram reported.

Recognized as Fatima Altakrouri, the lady alleged that a flight attendant advised 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 permit Altakrouri to sit down 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 grievance was introduced Tuesday by the Dallas-Fort Value 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 advised Altakrouri she “would convey the entire aircraft down in an emergency” as a result of she didn’t converse English, the grievance stated.

“If I had been to say one thing like that, I might be kicked off the aircraft. I don’t perceive why she would say one thing like that. That makes me appear 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 grievance 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 essential to talk up. I’m doing this on behalf of myself and the numerous different ladies on the market which were in the identical footwear as I’ve.” Altakrouri additionally stated it was troublesome for her to maintain her composure all through the flight after being discriminated towards, 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 disenchanted by the airline however by the dearth of assist from different passengers who witnessed the incident. 

“I believe I used to be actually disenchanted 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 may change one thing with the best way we’re handled in public.” 

Multiple incidents have been reported wherein Muslim People 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 we have now to behave totally different,” Faizan Syed, government director of CAIR-Texas DFW stated on the press convention. “That is an instance of a bigger concern that’s taking place in America with our group continually, 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 diverse considerably from her sister’s, who was not sporting a hijab.

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

When requested in regards to the grievance by the Star-Telegram, Southwest Airways stated it doesn’t tolerate discrimination and that individuals seated in exit rows should have the ability to carry out sure duties. “We apologize to any buyer who has a lower than constructive 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 verify what standards the flight attendant used to find out whether or not Altakrouri was not able to fulfilling the wanted duties. Based on the airline’s website, passengers within the exit row should have the ability to find the emergency exit, acknowledge the emergency exit opening mechanism, comprehend the directions for working the emergency exit, and comply with oral instructions and hand alerts given by a crew member.  

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





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