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Muslim woman removed from flight after security heard her say ‘It’s a go’ on her phone

11 October 2011 General 8 Comments Email This Post Email This Post
Humiliated: Irum Abbassi was thrown off a Southwest Airlines flight after a flight attendant thought she heard her saying 'it's a go'

Humiliated: Irum Abbassi was thrown off a Southwest Airlines flight after a flight attendant thought she heard her saying 'it's a go'

  • U.S. citizen Irum Abbassi now suing Southwest Airlines over incident
  • By LEE MORAN

    A Muslim-American woman was removed from an aeroplane as it prepared for take off – after a flight attendant told security staff she heard her say ‘It’s a go’ into her mobile phone.

    But U.S. citizen Irum Abbassi, who was travelling out of San Diego’s International Airport, claims she actually said ‘I’ve got to go’.

    The mother-of-three was quickly searched and then made her way back to the flight – but the aeroplane’s crew refused to allow her back on board.

    She then took the next flight – and is now suing Southwest Airlines for the ‘humiliating’ incident.

    The psychology graduate student at San Jose State University filed the lawsuit in federal court in San Diego.

    Her lawyer James McElroy said: ‘Suspicions were aroused because of her religion. She would not have been removed from the plane if she had been a blond-haired, blue-eyed woman.”

    Abbasi was taken off the San Jose-bound flight in March. The lawsuit said she felt ‘horrified, embarrassed, humiliated and confused’ by the incident.

    Abbasi claims she had said ‘I have to go’ to a Verizon representative because the aeroplane was about to depart.

    Abbasi was searched by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) staff and given clearance to reboard the flight within three minutes.

    But the pilot claimed the crew was uncomfortable flying with her and refused to allow her aboard.

    She was given an apology, a voucher and a boarding pass for the next San Jose flight.

    It meant she missed a critical research experiment that she needed to be able to complete for her graduate studies, the lawsuit added.

    Lawsuit: Irum Abbassi is now suing Southwest Airlines over the incident she said left her 'humiliated'

    Lawsuit: Irum Abbassi is now suing Southwest Airlines over the incident she said left her 'humiliated' Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2047733/Muslim-woman-removed-flight-security-heard-say-Its-phone.html#ixzz1aUQrStG7

    Chris Mainz, spokesman for Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, said the company apologised to Abbasi for her inconvenience and her concerns were addressed ‘in good faith’.

    He added: ‘In this case, our employees raised a safety concern based on the customer’s behaviour, and we had a duty to thoroughly address those concerns before clearing the customer to travel.

    ‘We have a vast, diverse workforce, and we celebrate diversity among our employees and our customers.

    ‘We do not discriminate against anyone for any reason, and we’ve been recognized as a leader for our diversity and care for all of our customers throughout our 40 years of service.’

    In the past Southwest has received widespread notoriety for removing passengers.

    In September the airline booted off a female couple who kissed during a flight.

    Earlier this year it also removed Green Day singer Billy Joe Armstrong and a University of New Mexico football player for wearing trousers that were too baggy.

    Stopped: Irum Abbassi was removed from the aeroplane at San Diego's International Airport

    Stopped: Irum Abbassi was removed from the aeroplane at San Diego's International Airport

    Abbassi is asking for punitive damages for discrimination based on race, religion, colour, ethnicity, alienage, ancestry, and/or national origin, breach of contract, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

    University of Southern California counter-terrorism Professor Seth Stodder said discrimination laws for airline passengers are weighed against security concerns and sometimes just gut-level fear.

    He told KPBS: ‘It’s a hard balance to draw when you’re dealing with a pilot who is making a decision based on his assessment of the safety of the passengers of the plane.

    ‘There is no clear law. It’s one of those issues that hasn’t really been adequately litigated.’

    Edgar Hopida, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, agreed that a balance had to be struck.

    But he said it had to include an understanding that Muslims were also travellers who wanted to get to their destinations safely.

    He said: ‘We’re all about security because we’re Americans too and we travel on the same aeroplanes as everyone else.’

    And he warned that, in the future, more people would be removed from airlines if flight attendants and other crew members were not reminded of that message.

    Original post: Muslim woman removed from flight after security heard her say ‘It’s a go’ on her phone

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    8 Comments »

    1. Hate law only applies to Muslims against non Muslims, but of course anybody can hate Muslims and speak bad about them. Bunch of hypocrite|!! I guess all the new laws are designed to make the life of Muslims hell. Well We know this earth ain’t heaven. This discrimination will make our faith in Allah and his prophet Mohamed peace be upon him grow bigger. Thanks

    2. I do hope she will be given dispensation so that she can continue on her doctorate program. If not, I’d sue Southwest Airlines for every cent I could. The grounds for removing her from the plane were pretty flimsy to say the least.

    3. you can say its a go for anything! UGH. We say it at school when we’re about to start the play, when we host a dinner, GOD these people just love to put fear in other people’s hearts. It’s ignorance. And you can’t say, “Oh she didn’t have to say that” She’s on the damn phone, she doesn’t have to watch what she’s saying, especially if it’s harmless talk.

    4. Southwest has been in the news a lot lately for these kinds of incidents, as the article said. What is up with that? Are they trying to lose customers?

    5. Alhamdulliah All that hatred just makes me love being a Muslim more, and Muslim youth will become more proud and more into Islam. Ya.just doing us a favor, you all think your making it hard for us when in reality your making our jobs easier lol

    6. I can maybe see them taking her off to check her (annoying and racist, yes, but in that they were within their rights) but after she had been cleared by security they STILL wouldn’t let her back on? Rediculous.

      Poor woman, I hope they give her a second chance for her school work.

    7. maryam the security guards out her back at the door to the plane ot board it the captain refused to let her back on. but still if this were a cute southern draw haven blonde they would of just let her stay no questions asked!! its a dern shame thy profile! i hope she wins her suit especially if she lost her degree cause of this!!

    8. What the heck? I can understand her being taken off and searched, but there’s NO reason for them to not let her back on afterwards.

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