A married couple sitting on a plane and texting aroused the suspicion of a crew member who thought the man was sweating suspiciously.
The couple, both Pakistani-American Muslims according to reports, were also apparently saying “Allah”. Some reports say both were sweating.
The couple, Nazia and Faisal Ali, accuse Delta Air Lines of Islamophobia for throwing them off their flight from Paris to Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Khaleej Times (an English-language newspaper based in the UAE) said Nazia, 34, had sent a text message to her parents, removed her footwear and was settling into her seat for the nine-hour flight when a crew member grew suspicious of the woman wearing a headscarf and her husband who seemed to be sweating.
The crew member complained to the pilot that she was uncomfortable with the couple.
Paris, where the flight originated, has suffered several terrorist outrages. The pilot took the cautious approach, contacted ground crew and allegedly refused to take off until the couple were removed.
Nazia told the Cincinnati office of the US 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’.”
The couple, on a brief holiday in Paris for their 10th wedding anniversary, ended up being interrogated by a French detective, who found no problem with them.
CAIR has filed a religious profiling complaint against Delta Air Lines with the US Department of Transportation, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
Delta says it never discriminates and is investigating. It is refunding the couple’s fare.
Written by Peter Needham