Two Muslim religious leaders said a Delta pilot refused to take off from Memphis, Tenn., to Charlotte, N.C., with them on board, removing the traditionally dressed men as they tried to get to a conference addressing prejudice against Muslims. Both men, Masudur Rahman and Mohamed Zaghloul, are foreign-born and said they had no issue with normal screening processes. However, the plane was returned to the gate after it had begun taxiing and the imams were asked to get off despite the objections of some of the crew and other passengers. —KDG
Back in Charlotte, Rahman, a professor at University of Memphis, compared the incident to the story of Rosa Parks.
“That history I found today in that plane, and it shouldn’t happen with any other person,” he said.
Charlotte-based attorney Mo Idlibi, who accompanied the men once they arrived in Charlotte, said his clients would like to see more training for pilots about this sensitive issue. Idlibi continues to investigate the option of a lawsuit.
Idlibi said there is precedent on this issue. U.S. Airways recently settled a lawsuit filed by six imams who were removed from a plane in Minneapolis in 2006. Those men had been traveling to the North American Imam Federation conference as well.