Two Muslim American YouTube stars claimed that the captain of a Delta Airlines flight at Heathrow Airport had asked them to leave due to their use of Arabic, reports The New York Times.
Delta said they were frightening some of the British passengers on the plane.
Adam Saleh said he spoke to his mother in Arabic on the phone on the plane and then briefly spoke to fellow star Slim Albaher in Arabic afterwards, but their conversation was interrupted by a woman nearby who asked them to speak in English.
Saleh claimed they responded unaggressively, but other passengers soon joined in and asked that the two Muslim Americans be removed. Not everyone agreed with the woman, however; passenger Chris Ashford said, “She heard somebody speaking in Arabic and assumed the worst.”
The captain eventually came to ask the two men to leave, during which Saleh began to video record, on his phone, him and Albaher being escorted from the plane by Delta Airlines staff.
The video recorded on the plane, along with Saleh’s and Albaher’s commentary on the situation after the matter, can be viewed on YouTube.
In the video, some passengers can be seen waving and saying goodbye to Saleh and Albaher. Saleh called out some of the passengers.
“Six white people against us bearded men.” Another man can be seen and heard trying to defend Saleh and Albaher. Saher has shared the video on Twitter, and it has also already been uploaded to his Facebook page and YouTube channel as well, where he has over 2 million subscribers. Many have responded to the video with criticisms of Delta, some even claiming that they will refuse to patronize Delta Airlines any further.
PressTV reports that Saleh has stated that he plans on filing charges against Delta Airlines. It is likely that further investigations will be made into Saleh’s claims and the incident as a whole. Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) spokeswoman Zainab Chaudry said, “More and more reports have been made by Muslims or Arabs, or people who were perceived to be Muslim or Arabs, who were removed from planes by airline personnel.” In April of this year, a UC Berkeley student attempting to fly out of Los Angeles International Airport was removed from his flight after he was reported by another passenger for speaking Arabic.
Delta said it takes charges of discrimination seriously, but also defended its action.
“What is paramount to Delta is the safety and comfort of our passengers and employees,” the airline said. “It is clear these individuals sought to violate that priority.”
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