Two Muslim women were escorted off a Jet Blue plane after a flight attendant reported them to authorities on March 5.
The two women were questioned by law enforcement officers after the flight arrived in Los Angeles from Boston, according to media reports.
Former Wired journalist Mark Frauenfelder posted news of the incident online. His friend, Sharon Kessler, was a passenger on the flight and told Frauenfelder she “overheard a flight attendant tell a co-worker that she didn’t like the way two Muslim women were staring back at her,” according to the Independent.
“It was a terrible moment -- honestly -- these women sat quietly, watched movies -- it felt like overkill from this flight attendant,” Kessler added, Daily Mail reported.
The flight attendant “casually relayed to a co-worker that she didn't appreciate being stared at -- she did not seem rattled or scared -- just smug. Then -- after we landed -- she announced that the authorities would be boarding the plane and to remain in our seats with seat belts,” Kessler said.
Jet Blue defended the flight attendant’s actions in a press release.
“In this instance, our crewmembers acted in accordance with security procedures. We appreciate our customers’ patience and cooperation, and apologize for the inconvenience,” Jet Blue’s statement read.
The incident came a week after a British man was taken off a plane in England after a fellow passenger reported him as suspicious because he was talking on his phone about praying.
Laolu Opebiyi said the man sitting next to him on a flight to Amsterdam saw him chatting on a group called “ISI men” before reporting him. Armed police appeared shortly afterwards on the plane to take Opebiyi away.
The group, which stood for iron sharpens iron, was a reference to the Bible passage, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another,” The Guardian reported.
It is believed the fellow passenger mistook it for “ISIS.”
“That guy doesn’t know me and within two minutes he’s judging me,” Opebiyi said. “Even if I was a Muslim, it was pretty unfair the way I was treated. I don’t think anyone, irrespective of their religion should be treated in such a way.”
Opebiyi was able to take the next flight.