2 Black Muslims accuse Alaska Airlines of kicking them off flight for texting and talking in Arabic
Two Black Muslim men say they were kicked off an Alaska Airlines flight in 2020 after they were talking and one was seen texting in Arabic.
Two Black Muslim men say they were kicked off an Alaska Airlines flight in 2020 after they were talking and one was seen texting in Arabic and are suing the airline, alleging discrimination.
The suit, filed Tuesday in federal court in the Western District of Washington, alleges that Alaska Airlines humiliated and denied Abobakkr Dirar and Mohamed Elamin their rights as passengers by “exploiting the discredited Islamophobic, racist, and xenophobic claim” of another person on the flight.
According to the complaint, the plaintiffs, described as Sudan-born American citizens who predominantly speak Arabic and some English, were sitting in first-class seats on a flight from Seattle to San Francisco in February 2020 when another passenger became upset after seeing one of them text in Arabic. The text conversation was described as friendly banter between one of the men and another person who was not on board at that time.
Lawyers allege that airline employees then engaged in “security theater” by removing the man who was texting and the man with whom he was speaking in Arabic, from the plane. The suit says the men were barred from flying together on the Alaska flights they had already booked, forcing them to board different Alaska flights and arrive hours late to their destinations.
A spokesperson for Alaska Airlines said that the company would not comment on the pending litigation but that it prohibits unlawful discrimination.