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Lawsuit Claims Alaska Airlines ‘Weaponized Islamophobic’ Fears When it Booted Two Muslim Men From Flight

Lawsuit Claims Alaska Airlines ‘Weaponized Islamophobic’ Fears When it Booted Two Muslim Men From Flight

An Alaska Airlines 737 aircraft comes into land

Alaska Airlines has been accused of using two black Muslim men as “human props” in an “unjustified, unnecessary, and self-serving display of security theater” in a new lawsuit that has been filed in federal court.

Abobakkr Dirar and Mohamed Elamin are suing Alaska Airlines for discrimination following their alleged treatment in February 2020. The lawsuit, which is being supported by lawyers from the Council on American-Islamic Relations was filed in Washington state federal court last week.

The two men were due to fly in First Class on an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to San Francisco but were booted from the flight following a disproven allegation by another passenger on the flight.

The lawsuit claims flight attendants knew the complaint was simply a “misunderstanding” but decided to call law enforcement to carry out an investigation on Dirar and Elamin in front of all the other passengers to show they were taking the allegations seriously.

Dirar and Elamin were then booted from their original booked flight and made to travel on separate flights to San Francisco.

The incident allegedly started because Dirar had a text message conversation on his phone with a friend in Arabic. Both men, who are originally from Sudan but are now U.S. citizens, were also talking to one another in Arabic with “pronounced” accents.

Alaska Airlines “essentially weaponized Islamophobic, racist, and xenophobic fears by using Plaintiffs (Dirar and Elamin) as human props in an admittedly unjustified, unnecessary, and self-serving display of discriminatory security theater,” the lawsuit alleges.

“Their trauma was exacerbated by knowing that such public mistreatment would give credence to Islamophobic, racist, and xenophobic beliefs which have plagued the Muslim community in the United States for decades,” the suit continues.

The two men now say they try to avoid air travel because of the fear of being discriminated against. If they do choose to fly, they now say they have to get to the airport hours in advance to account for hold-ups due to “potential repeat discriminatory abuse”.

Along with claiming monetary damages for the “humiliation” they suffered, the lawsuit calls on Alaska Airlines to provide racial and religious bias training to its employees.

View Comments (2)
  • I wish the plaintiffs in this case the best of luck in winning the case and hopefully a return to feeling comfortable flying again.

    People freaking out over Arabic and Arabic alphabets is a problem. It’s even worse of a problem when corporate agents do the bidding of the scared and angry bigots over the same.

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