Group files complaint against Delta, alleging racial profiling


The Council on American-Islamic Relations chapter in Cincinnati on Thursday requested a federal investigation into an incident involving two Muslim passengers who allegedly were removed from a Delta Air Lines flight in Paris.

The married couple, Faisal and Nazia Ali, are U.S. citizens of Pakistani descent who on July 26 were headed home after a trip to France, according to CAIR, a Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization.

Passengers had been waiting 45 minutes for the flight to take off when the Alis were asked to leave the plane, according to CAIR. The couple was told a flight attendant was not comfortable having them on the flight.

Delta said in a statement it “condemns discrimination in regards to age, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or gender” and “is deeply committed to treating all of our customers with respect.”

The airline said it was “concerned by the allegations,” is investigating the matter and will issue a full refund of the passengers’ air fare.

Nazia Ali wears a hijab, a religious headscarf. The flight attendant “reportedly claimed that Faisal Ali tried to hide his cell phone and was sweating and that he said the word ‘Allah,’ ” according to CAIR. The organization said Ali put his phone in his pocket after texting his mother to let her know they were on the plane, and that the flight had been delayed at the gate and it was warm on the plane.

The couple were questioned by police and had to wait 24 hours to take another flight, according to CAIR, which wrote in a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation that “it is clear that Mr. & Mrs. Ali were being singled out due to their Muslim appearance and name.”

Federal code prohibits an airline from subjecting a person in air transportation to “discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex or ancestry.”

CAIR staff attorney Sana Hassan wrote in the letter to the DOT that “it is apparent that Delta… removed Mr. & Mrs. Ali from their flight not out of a legitimate and credible safety concern or need, but because of their identifiably Muslim name and appearance.”

The group cited a number of incidents reported on other airlines this year allegedly involving the removal of passengers with Muslim or Middle Eastern backgrounds, and called for an examination into airlines’ practices and for the development of “policy guidelines on the objective factors” to consider when determining whether a passenger can be legally removed from a flight.

The DOT said it investigates all discrimination-related complaints that it receives, and will look into the matter when it receives the letter from CAIR.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Delta ending discount for NRA members
Delta ending discount for NRA members

Delta Air Lines announced Saturday it is ending a discount for National Rifle Association members. Atlanta-based Delta said it is ending its contract for discounted rates through the airline’s group travel program. “We will be requesting that the NRA remove our information from its website,” Delta said in a written statement...
Should you talk about your pay? Career experts weigh in
Should you talk about your pay? Career experts weigh in

Even with nearly every cultural taboo thrown to the wind− from discussing sexual orientation to politics; one last conversational taboo still exist among Americans − how much we get paid. "These days, it's okay to talk about the troubles we're having with our children or even our marriages," noted one blogger from PayScale...
BB&T recovering after 'technical issue' left customers without access to accounts, cash
BB&T recovering after 'technical issue' left customers without access to accounts, cash

Millions of BB&T customers were locked out of their accounts Thursday night and Friday morning due to an outage that bank officials said was caused by a "technical issue." The interruption of services was first reported Thursday night and appeared to last until just before noon Friday. “At this time, many of our services...
Krog Street Market developer plans redo of aging Atlanta hotel
Krog Street Market developer plans redo of aging Atlanta hotel

The developer of Atlanta’s Krog Street Market plans to convert an aging extended stay hotel in the Piedmont Heights neighborhood of the city into an eclectic boutique hotel. Atlanta-based Paces Properties said it has signed a deal with Texas hotelier Liz Lambert and her Austin-based hospitality company Bunkhouse to retrofit the...
UPS to add new electric delivery trucks to fleet
UPS to add new electric delivery trucks to fleet

UPS plans to deploy 50 electric delivery trucks as part of its fleet of brown vehicles, a move it expects could give a boost to adoption of electric vehicles across the industry. Sandy Springs-based UPS in its Thursday announcement said the trucks – which it is partnering with electric vehicle manufacturer Workhorse Group Inc....
More Stories