A Muslim passenger on an American Airlines flight last December said a flight attendant repeatedly told him “I will be watching you,” as he was boarding the flight.
In a complaint filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Wednesday, Mohamed Ahmed Radwan described how he was discriminated against by the American flight attendant which led to his removal from the Dec. 6 flight from Charlotte to Detroit. Radwan said he then had to book another ticket on a different airline to reach his destination.
“Given the continuing rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric and hate crimes occurring throughout the United States, this type of reckless and harmful conduct should not be tolerated by our nation’s airlines, which are legally charged with safely carrying all individuals who are rightfully present in an equal and nondiscriminatory manner, without regard to their religious affiliation or ethnicity,” said the complaint letter filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Radwan said the flight attendant announced his name and seat number and stated “I will be watching you” while she did a pass through the cabin before the flight’s departure.
When he asked the flight attendant why he was singled out, she responded that he was being “too sensitive,” according to the complaint. Two other flight attendants on the flight were informed of the situation and after a discussion in the cockpit, Radwan was told he would be escorted off the flight because the flight attendant was uncomfortable.
“Worse than the inconvenience and unreasonable delay that was inflicted upon Mr. Radwan, American Airlines humiliated Mr. Radwan by making statements that falsely portrayed him as a potential terrorist and threat,” the letter said.
As part of its complaint, CAIR requested that the Department of Transportation examine the practices of U.S. airlines when it comes to legally removing a passenger from a flight and requiring airlines to undergo regular sensitivity and diversity training.
American spokesman Matt Milller said the carrier was contacted by CAIR earlier this year about the incident.
“We thoroughly reviewed these allegations and concluded that no discrimination occurred,” Miller said. “We serve customers of all backgrounds and faiths and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”