A US-born Muslim woman who wore a hijab aboard a Southwest Airlines flight has accused a flight attendant of forcing her to maneuver from an exit row as a result of she didn’t communicate English — which might “bring the whole plane down” in an emergency.
The Dallas-Fort-Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations — the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group — has filed a criticism on her behalf towards the airline.
It alleges that the crew member aboard the flight from Fort Lauderdale to Dallas on May 22 told Fatima Altakrouri that she would “bring the whole plane down” in an emergency as a result of she doesn’t communicate the language — regardless of the very fact the 2 conversed in English, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Altakrouri, a well being clinic operations supervisor, and her youthful sister, Muna Kowni, selected the final two seats that have been accessible subsequent to one another within the emergency exit row, in keeping with the information outlet.
The ladies have been reportedly getting back from an emergency go to to their mom, who was in intensive care at a Fort Lauderdale hospital.
Altakrouri stated the flight attendant told her sister, who doesn’t put on a hijab, that she may stay seated within the row.
“The whole incident was very disappointing to me,” she stated Tuesday. “I felt like I was picked out and felt intimidated by the attendant on this flight. It shouldn’t happen.”
Despite talking with the attendant in English, Altakrouri stated the crew member insisted she couldn’t communicate the language and the sisters moved to different seats that have been aside from one another.
“There was no valid basis that Fatima does not speak English,” Altakrouri’s legal professional Marwa Elbially stated. “The refusal to seat Fatima in that seat was discrimination on the basis of religion.”
Elbially stated his consumer lodged complaints with Southwest and the US Department of Transportation.
Faizan Syed, government director of the native CAIR chapter, stated the criticism addresses the broader concern of Muslims being focused by the TSA and flight crews.
“Imagine being Fatima, imagine being her sister,” Syed stated. “And the only crime that you’ve done is simply put on a piece of clothing and because of that you can be treated in a disrespectful manner, in this rude manner, in this discriminatory manner.”
Altakrouri stated she additionally was upset that different passengers who overheard the incident didn’t intervene.
“But for the fact that nobody said anything, just makes me wonder what is our country coming to? Why are we not defending one another?” she stated. “I have a right to be on this plane just as much as anyone else does.”
Altakrouri added that she didn’t hear something from the airline till a rep reached out through Twitter after the information convention.
“Until you make it public, that’s when the company will take you seriously,” Syed stated. “But when you follow their actual complaint process … there’s no response and the idea is to bury it under the rug.”
Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King told the Dallas Morning News in a press release that the corporate apologizes to any buyer who has had a “less than positive travel experience” and that they’ll look into the particular matter.
“The safety of our passengers is paramount, and individuals seated in exit rows must be able to perform certain duties. With that said, Southwest neither condones nor tolerates discrimination of any kind,” King stated.
“Since Southwest Airlines’ inception, we have put people first and maintain a mutual respect for our fellow Southwest Airlines employees, our customers, and the diverse communities that we serve,” she added.
Syed stated CAIR desires the provider to apologize and take away the flight attendant from its employees.