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US student escorted off plane 'for speaking Arabic'

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US student escorted off plane 'for speaking Arabic'

Old 18th Apr 2016, 15:10
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US student escorted off plane 'for speaking Arabic'

Here we go again!

From the BBC News:

An Iraqi university student in California says he was escorted off a Southwest Airlines flight for having a conversation in Arabic.
Southwest Airlines said that Khairuldeen Makhzoomi was removed from a 9 April flight before it took off.
Mr Makhzoomi said he was talking to his uncle on the phone about attending a speech by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
A Southwest employee then escorted him off of the plane.
"I was very excited about the event, so I called my uncle to tell him about it," Mr Makhzoomi told the New York Times.
A woman on the plane began staring at him after he used the phrase "inshallah," meaning "god willing," in the conversation, he said.
After an Arabic-speaking Southwest employee escorted him off the plane, he said "This is what Islamophobia got this country into."
Mr Makhzoomi, who came to the country as an Iraqi refugee and studies at the University of California at Berkeley, was then told he could not get back on the plane.
"My family and I have been through a lot, and this is just another one of the experiences I have had,'' he told the New York Times.
"Human dignity is the most valuable thing in the world, not money. If they apologised, maybe it would teach them to treat people equally."
Southwest said in its statement that he was removed for "potentially threatening comments made aboard our aircraft" and that it does not tolerate discrimination.
"We wouldn't remove passengers from flights without a collaborative decision rooted in established procedures," the company said. "We regret any less than positive experience onboard our aircraft."
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Old 18th Apr 2016, 16:03
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I believe we've had one recently in UK as well. Someone saw "Arabic" on someone else's phone. (May have been Sanskrit for all she knew). The passenger was offloaded.
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Old 18th Apr 2016, 16:14
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I expect Emirates from USA will have a fuller a/c than Delta then.
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Old 18th Apr 2016, 16:33
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Lesson no 1 - Dont use your mobile phone on the aircraft, it annoys the other passengers and is illegal in many jurisdictions.
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Old 18th Apr 2016, 17:35
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Lesson No.2 Do NOT use certain "Count Down Timers" on laptops, ipads etc.


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Old 18th Apr 2016, 18:21
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These 'they kicked me off the plane for no reason' stories often have more to it than the media initially reports from my experience.

A very recent story about a community activist and civil rights figure being pulled off an American Eagle flight in DCA seems to emphasize that he was unable to stay seated when asked due to medical issues. However, a later account from the airline says he grabbed a flight attendant and he was offloaded to cool his heels. Of course, no charges were filed so he must be innocent, right?

I was removed from a plane before departure by a U.S. Marshal while deadheading anonymously in civilian clothes years ago. It was a case of mistaken identity which was quickly resolved by showing ID (I sure didn't want to flash a pilot's license or airline ID, then it might become a TSA reportable 'security incident'). Needless to say, I was the center of attention when I reboarded a few minutes later. 'Those damn folks at Langley keep changing the mission' I mumbled...
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Old 18th Apr 2016, 18:34
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Originally Posted by Hotel Tango View Post
From the BBC News:

An Iraqi university student in California says he was escorted off a Southwest Airlines flight for having a conversation in Arabic.
Southwest Airlines said that Khairuldeen Makhzoomi was removed from a 9 April flight before it took off.
Mr Makhzoomi said he was talking to his uncle on the phone about attending a speech by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
A Southwest employee then escorted him off of the plane.
"I was very excited about the event, so I called my uncle to tell him about it," Mr Makhzoomi told the New York Times.
A woman on the plane began staring at him after he used the phrase "inshallah," meaning "god willing," in the conversation, he said.
After an Arabic-speaking Southwest employee escorted him off the plane, he said "This is what Islamophobia got this country into."
Mr Makhzoomi, who came to the country as an Iraqi refugee and studies at the University of California at Berkeley, was then told he could not get back on the plane.
"My family and I have been through a lot, and this is just another one of the experiences I have had,'' he told the New York Times.
"Human dignity is the most valuable thing in the world, not money. If they apologised, maybe it would teach them to treat people equally."
Southwest said in its statement that he was removed for "potentially threatening comments made aboard our aircraft" and that it does not tolerate discrimination.
"We wouldn't remove passengers from flights without a collaborative decision rooted in established procedures," the company said. "We regret any less than positive experience onboard our aircraft."
First of two such incidents on SWA in the space of a week. Here's the other:

CAIR to Call for Bias Probe After Maryland Muslim Removed from Southwest Flight in Chicago - CAIR
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Old 18th Apr 2016, 19:19
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Meanwhile, over in the UK:

Iraqi scientist kicked off EasyJet flight because passengers thought he was an Islamic extremist

Tanveer Mann for Metro.co.uk

Friday 15 Apr 2016 7:58 pm

Iraqi scientist kicked off flight because passengers thought he was an Islamic extremist

An Iraqi scientist was kicked off a London-bound flight from Vienna because a passenger thought he was an Islamic extremist.

Hasan Dewachi, 32, originally from Iraq, was on the EasyJet flight to Gatwick when he was approached by a member of cabin crew.

Hasan, who has lived in the UK for six years and is studying for a Master’s degree in Biochemistry, was then told to leave the plane.

EasyJet have now been forced to apologise after the married father-of-two was abandoned at the airport without a flight and without a phone.

A scientist who was hauled off a London-bound flight when a passenger wrongly suspected he was an Islamic extremist, is to sue EasyJet for racial discrimination and suffering. Iraq-born Hasan Dewachi, 32, found himself at the centre of a security alert after the woman passenger on the flight from Vienna, Austria, to Gatwick claimed she saw ISIS related messages on his phone. Now the married father of two daughters aged four and nine months who is studying for a science PHD at Sheffield Hallam university has decided to publicly tell his side of the story - after claiming EasyJet put him through 'terrible suffering.'

Hasan was told to leave the plane and was questioned by airport police.

He told MailOnline: ‘One minute I was texting my wife on my mobile to tell her the plane was about to take off and I’d be home soon. The next a member of cabin crew came over to tell me I had to leave the plane.’

‘It transpired a woman passenger had seen me texting my wife in Arabic, my mother language, and for some inexplicable reason suspected I was a terrorist.’
Iraqi scientist kicked off EasyJet because passengers thought he was a terrorist | Metro News
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Old 18th Apr 2016, 19:23
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A simple case of word association or perhaps more reminiscent of the 1953 hanging of Derek Bentley, the "Let him have it" instructions to his accomplice Craig in the shooting of a policeman. Words are spoken but what do they mean. It really depends on circumstances and a bit more common sense.
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Old 18th Apr 2016, 19:42
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My airline booted a Muslim family within the past few weeks. The mother went high and to the right accusing the crew of islamaphobia. Of course someone video'd it with their phone. Of course the media ran with it. Of course both were wrong. The family had a car seat for a little one that wasn't approved for in flight use. The wife argued till the point of being removed for creating a situation over the seat issue. It's the newest race card that gets you out of anything.
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Old 18th Apr 2016, 20:28
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'Those damn folks at Langley keep changing the mission' I mumbled...


Excellent reaction in a difficult situation...

It's the newest race card that gets you out of anything.
Maybe if the recipient / target of this phrase was allowed to sue the one speaking it for untold damages and physical distress its use would have been far less widespread.
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Old 19th Apr 2016, 03:37
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The airline is saying that the woman who overheard the conversation is an Arabic speaker.

Southwest says passenger who overheard college student?s remarks also spoke Arabic | | Dallas Morning News

NYT also reported that the airline agent who removed the man spoke arabic and was of middle-eastern or south asian descent.
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Old 19th Apr 2016, 07:07
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Malaysian authorities recently 'reminded' the citizenry that eating bread or cake decorated with poppy seed is a criminal offence.
A British man was thrown in jail in Dubai when a super vigilant customs man noticed a poppy seed stuck to his shoe.

Cultural misunderstandings and norms vary.
Why should we feel guilty when they don't?
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Old 19th Apr 2016, 07:20
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Nonsense Algol. If poppy seeds are illegal in a country then better not decorate your bread with them. That's not a cultural misunderstanding, it's the local law.

So, which local law prohibits Arab language on a plane?
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Old 19th Apr 2016, 07:24
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Well he wasn't jailed.
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Old 19th Apr 2016, 07:34
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True. He wasn't jailed. Case closed

Anyway, I wonder why the airlines never publish their side of the story. Some here argue that these stories have more to it than the media reports. So what stops an airline to tell the truth? Assuming of course that the truth is more nuanced than the media story..
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Old 19th Apr 2016, 08:24
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I am constantly reminded by others and reminding myself about not talking too loudly on the mobile (definition of too loudly other people can hear me).

It would be useful to him if he had kept his volume down.
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Old 19th Apr 2016, 11:30
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"Inshallah" is a common enough word, and I use it myself occasionally. I'm a solidly Anglo-Saxon Brit, but having been in the military, and in the Middle East, all sorts of words enter one's vocabulary.
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Old 19th Apr 2016, 11:42
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According to the NYT he had told his uncle about his question to the UN general secretary the day before regarding the islamic state. If somebody listens to an arabic language conversation like this he can feel alarmed. Maybe this guy should just not use words like that on a plane. Like all those bomb jokes at checkpoints.
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Old 19th Apr 2016, 13:10
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Let's take this a bit more seriously. At least five totally innocent people have been escorted from aircraft for speaking or texting Arabic, or for looking non-Western-whilst-texting-in-a-plane-and-praying. If the best we can come up with is 'he should not speak so loudly' then we really are in a sad, sad state of affairs. This is exactly what the terrorists want.
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