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Muslim Woman Arrested And Removed From Flight Because A White Man Didn’t ‘Feel Comfortable’

Amani Al-Khatahtbeh/Facebook

Muslim activist and blogger Amani Al-Khatahtbeh recently endured a brutal travel experience that she claimed was motivated entirely by Islamaphobia.

The saga began in the airport with an uncomfortable altercation at security. After that, she was removed from the plane and later arrested.

And it all escalated to that level because one of her co-passengers, a white man sitting in first class, told flight staff he “felt uncomfortable.”

Thankfully, Al-Khatahtbeh, who founded the blog Muslim Girl, is an astute social media user and documented the entire ordeal in real time from beginning to end.

Between Al-Khatahtbeh’s Twitter, which boasts over 30 thousand followers, and her Facebook, which has about the same amount, she spread the word quickly and widely.

Al-Khatahtbeh began by live Tweeting as she first encountered trouble during her trip through security check.

She reported that a white man jumped in front of her in line and rushed through the security screening machines.

Al-Khatahtbeh, who wore a veil throughout the experience, was quick to identify how the man’s actions illustrated his privilege.

She dramatized the clear relevant double standard.   

Regarding that incident, American Airlines, who operated the flight that both Al-Khatahtbeh and the man later boarded, offered up these details to Indy 100:

“Both PreCheck and non-PreCheck screening were consolidated into one open lane.”

“Our understanding is that Ms. Al-Khatahtbeh believed the other passenger, who is enrolled in PreCheck, was getting favorable treatment because he was allowed to proceed through security while she was removing her shoes.”

Things only worsened for Al-Khatahtbeh upon boarding her flight.

The same man who leaped in front of her in the security line told flight staff that he was uncomfortable sharing the plane with her.

Keep in mind that he was up in First Class and she was sitting back in coach.

Nonetheless, American Airlines crew members acted upon the uncomfortable man’s wishes. They demanded that Al-Khatahtbeh de-board the plane.

Of course, Al-Khatahtbeh documented everything. 

Al-Khatahtbeh refused to leave the plane. Rather, she turned the tables and claimed that the white man made her feel uncomfortable.

When she stood her ground, things reached a stand still. After about 7 minutes, American Airlines decided to remove not only Al-Khatahtbeh, but every single passenger from the plane.

Al-Khatahtbeh was stunned by the logic:

“A man in first class complained about me after he harassed me in TSA, and said that I, the Muslim woman, made him feel uncomfortable.”

“So American Airlines, rather than de-boarding that one singular man, attempted to de-board this entire flight to save one person in first class.”

“They first tried to remove the Muslim woman–rather than take both of us out they just wanted to take me out, take his word for it. And when I refused they de-boarded the entire plane.”

She recorded it all with a Facebook Live video. 

Facebook users who saw the video were absolutely outraged. 

Devin Massih/Facebook  
Sulekha Cali/Facebook
Kristen Anderson/Facebook
Debby Dean/Facebook
Zamzam Abdi/Facebook

Upon leaving the plane, Al-Khatahtbeh was taken into custody and charged with delay of transportation as well as trespassing. She has since been released.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Rights nonprofit, came to Al-Khatahtbeh’s aid upon her arrest.

Regarding the incident, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad told Business Insider the following:

“Although we do not yet know all of the facts about this incident, we do know that American Airlines has a history of mistreating Muslim travelers.”

“The airline must immediately explain why it singled out Amani by contacting the police and ejecting her from a flight based on the word of a man who had allegedly harassed her.”

Fortunately, Al-Khatahtbeh left the situation unharmed and received the help she needed to remove herself from detainment.

But in a concluding final post to Facebook, Al-Khatahtbeh lamented all that her traumatizing day illustrated.

I was arrested for the first time in my life because I got Ken’d. This is what it looks like to fly as a Muslim woman in…

Posted by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh on Sunday, November 15, 2020

Eric Spring

Written by Eric Spring

Eric Spring lives in New York City. He has poor vision and cooks a good egg. Most of his money is spent on live music and produce. He usually wears plain, solid color sweatshirts without hoods because he assumes loud patterns make people expect something big. Typically, he'll bypass a handshake and go straight for the hug.