A Muslim family was told to get off a plane on March 30 by a United Airlines pilot and flight attendant for an unspecified safety reason. The incident was filmed by family matriarch Eaman-Amy Saad Shebley who posted it on Facebook where the video has gone viral (video below).
Shebley also wrote on Facebook: "Shame on you #unitedAirlines for profiling my family and me for no reason other than how we look and kicking us off the plane for 'safety flight issues' on our flight to DC for the kids spring break. My three kids are too young to have experienced this."
Shebley, her husband and three kids had boarded a plane to fly from Chicago to Washington D.C. when a flight attendant and pilot told them to leave the aircraft.
"We're going to ask that you step off the aircraft," the flight attendant tells the family of five in the video.
Shebley's husband subsequently asks a pilot why his family is being told to get off the plane, and the pilot says, "Because it's my decision."
Shebley asks if it is a "discriminatory decision," and the pilot replies, "It's a safety of flight issue."
The Muslim parents asked a stewardess earlier if they could have five-point harness safety seats for their children, but the stewardess didn't know what the family was referring to; the family was told to leave afterwards, reports Click On Detroit.
“I think it’s clear that if one of the passengers hadn’t been wearing a headscarf and if they didn’t look a certain way this wouldn’t have happened,” the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) told BuzzFeed News. “The response they gave just doesn’t add up. We need more answers.”
"We are tired of Muslim-looking passengers being removed from flights for the flimsiest reasons, under a cryptic claim of 'security,'" CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab said in a statement.
“Security means securing passengers, not harassing and humiliating them and booting them off their flight for, of all things, actually asking for security,” Rehab added.
United Airlines said in a statement: "We rebooked them on a later flight because of concerns about their child’s safety seat, which did not comply with federal safety regulations. Both United and SkyWest hold our employees to the highest standards of professionalism and have zero tolerance for discrimination."