Omar Shahin, one of the imams removed from the plane, has links to Osama bin Laden and Hamas. "Five clerics removed from US Airways fly back to Phoenix," by Martiga Lohn for Associated Press, with thanks to Twostellas:
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Six Muslim clerics who were refused tickets by US Airways booked a flights back home Tuesday on another airline, but it still wasn't clear what led to their removal from their original flight.
The imams had attended a conference in Minneapolis of the North American Imams Federation, said Omar Shahin of Phoenix, president of the group, who was one of those removed from the flight. Three of them said their normal evening prayers in the airport terminal before boarding the Phoenix-bound plane, he said.
"They took us off the plane, humiliated us in a very disrespectful way," Shahin said after the incident on Monday night.
The next morning Shahin called for Muslims and non-Muslims to boycott US Airways unless the company changes its ways. "They know what they have to do, they have to be fair and just with everybody," he said....
Airport spokesman Patrick Hogan said some witnesses said some of the imams made anti-American comments about the war in Iraq before boarding the flight, and that some of the men asked for seat belt extensions even though a flight attendant thought they didn't need them.
"There were a number of things that gave the flight crew pause," Hogan said. It wasn't immediately possible to verify whether the passengers who reported suspicious activity witnessed it themselves.
Shahin said Tuesday that three members of the group prayed in the terminal before the six boarded the plane, although on Monday night he said they had prayed on the plane. They entered the aircraft individually, except for one member who is blind and needed a guide, Shahin said. Once on the plane, the six did not sit together, he said.
"We did nothing" on the plane, Shahin said Tuesday.
Shahin said no one from the airline asked the six to leave, but when police arrived, the group complied....
US Airways Group Inc. issued a statement saying it was interviewing crew members and ground workers to find out more about what happened.
"We are always concerned when passengers are inconvenienced and especially concerned when a situation occurs that causes customers to feel their dignity was compromised. We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind," the airline said.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations planned to file a complaint, said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.
"Because, unfortunately, this is a growing problem of singling out Muslims or people perceived to be Muslims at airports, and it's one that we've been addressing for some time," Hooper said.
Watch for the criminalization of investigations of Muslims in airports.