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Two Muslim men were kicked off a plane because of their appearance. They have now filed a lawsuit against Delta Air Lines and a regional carrier. The men, Masudur Rahman and Mohamed Zaghloul, were heading to an anti-Muslim discrimination conference.
Rahman was dressed in traditional Indian clothing at the time. Zaghloul was clad in traditional Arab garb, including headgear.
Both men were screened through regular security measures at the airport last May, the AP reports. En route from Memphis to Charlotte, they were screened again when they stood in line at the gate to board the plane. They boarded, and the plane pulled away from the gate. That's when the pilot announced that the plane was going to return to the terminal.
Rahman and Zaghloul were pulled off and screened again. Agents questioned them and conducted a pat down.
They were cleared to board, but the pilot refused to let them back on. He felt that Rahman and Zaghloul's presence would make other passengers feel uncomfortable.
Officials told passengers on the plane that they could opt for a different flight if they felt threatened by the two Muslim men, according to the lawsuit. Officials even offered vouchers to compensate passengers. Nobody took them up on the offer, yet the pilot still refused to let the two men board.
Pilots have the authority to refuse transport to persons they believe are unsafe or dangerous. However, they cannot refuse solely based on a passenger's race or ethnicity, the AP reports. Doing so would amount to discrimination.
Both federal and state laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race in many different settings. Race discrimination is typically outlawed in education, employment, housing, and access to businesses.
Discrimination is exactly what Rahman and Zaghloul allege in their suit. The two Muslim men say they were kicked off the plane solely because of their appearance. If the facts in the complaint are true, it's possible that the pilot and Delta maybe liable for anti-Muslim discrimination.