Four American Muslims Files Lawsuit Against American Airlines Over Plane Eviction, Allege Discrimination
Jan 21, 2016 11:03 PM EST
Four American Muslims from Brooklyn who were bound home after spending a few days in Toronto in December last year have filed a $9 million federal lawsuit against American Airlines after they were evicted from the flight. The complainants say that they have been racially profiled as Muslims resulting to their removal.
In a report by NBC News, two of the four men are Bangladeshi American and Muslim while one is Arab American and is also a Muslim. The fourth man is Sikh American and all of them are in their 20s. There were two more people with the four men, who are Pakistani American and Hispanic American, but were allowed to remain on the flight back home.
Originally, the four men booked on different return flight but later decided to fly home in just one plane. Shan Anand and Faimul Alam had to pay $75 to switch to the same flights as their friends while the two others, identified only as W.H. and M.K. had to pay $70 for an upgrade to business class. Anand and Alam reportedly switched seats with strangers to sit beside their friends.
According to W.H., an airline agent told them the captain felt uneasy because there were inconsistencies in their behavior and were traveling as a group. Attorney Tahanie Aboushi, who is representing the men, said in a statement, "They were told to 'just be peaceful,' making it seem like they were a threat, making other passengers uncomfortable and wanting to get off the flight. They didn't cite any basis of inappropriate or boisterous behavior; their situation wasn't a security issue or threat."
Middle East Eye also reported that after the four men were evicted, they asked if they were being kicked off due to their appearance as they had dark skin and had beards. The agent repotedly stared in response and said their appearance "did not help."
Eventually, the four men evicted from that flight were allowed to take the next flights bound to New York. These were the flights that Anand and Alam originally had booked tickets for.
The 18-page lawsuit also said that Alam manages his father's construction business, Anand works as a personal banker, and W.H. is a pharmacy student. M.K. on the other hand also manages his father's construction business, The Journal reported.
The lawsuit now seeks $1 million compensation each from American Airlines, Republic Airlines, Envoy Air and American Eagle as well as $5 million in punitive damages.