The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation over an alleged incident on an American Airlines’ flight from Charlotte to Detroit on December 6, 2015.
According to the complaint, passenger Mohamed Ahmed Radwan was singled out by a FA onboard, who stated from aircraft’s PA system, “Mohamed Ahmed, Seat 25-A: I will be watching you!”
One minute later, the same FA again stated, “Mohamed Ahmed, that is a very long name, seat 25-A, ‘I will be watching you.'” Radwan complained and the FA accused him of being “too sensitive”. He then complained to other FAs onboard who responded by removing him from the flight because the first FA was “uncomfortable” with him onboard. Radwan further maintains that was forced to buy a much more expensive ticket as a result of his removal.
But AA is pushing back. Dismissing the charge, AA released the following statement:
American was contacted by CAIR earlier this year. We thoroughly reviewed these allegations and concluded that no discrimination occurred…We serve customers of all backgrounds and faiths and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind.
While anti-Islamic bigotry is not something that can be dismissed, I am suspicious that this particular incident actually occurred. First, I find it very unlikely that Radwan would have to purchase a much more expensive ticket — usually in circumstances like this, the airline will find the passenger another way his destination (as United did for me after the photo incident).
Second, AA was quick to respond on the record that it had investigated the matter and determined that no discrimination occurred. The story, if true, is discrimination at its basest form. With a plane full of witnesses, I find it very unlikely that AA would flat out deny something that actually occrued.
I figure something did happen — perhaps a rude exchange — but it was probably greatly embellished upon. Who knows — the sad thing is that the story is very plausible.