A Muslim College Student Gets Kicked Off A Southwest Flight After Speaking Arabic

airplane in distance

In case you were wondering, Islamophobia is alive and well. A college student was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight after a passenger heard him speaking Arabic.

According to the New York Times, Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, a 26-year-old student at the University of California at Berkeley, made a phone call to his uncle while waiting for the plane to take off from Los Angeles to Oakland. He told him excitedly about an event where United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made a speech. He happened to be speaking Arabic. When he got off the phone, he saw a woman turn around to stare at him, and then head for the airplane door. Soon after, another Southwest Airlines employee removed him from the flight, and asked him if he had been speaking Arabic on the plane.

This is what Makhzoomi said happened next:

Mr. Makhzoomi said he was afraid, and that the employee spoke to him “like I was an animal.”

“I said to him, ‘This is what Islamophobia got this country into,’ and that made him so angry. That is when he told me I could not go back on the plane.”

The passenger apparently said that she heard Makhzoomi saying threatening things. After the employee took him off the plane, law enforcement officials searched him, and then questioned him. Eventually, he was released and the same employee refunded his ticket.

Makhzoomi had already been through a lot, having come to the United States as an Iraqi refugee. He is hoping for an apology, saying, “Human dignity is the most valuable thing in the world, not money.” Hopefully, he gets one soon.

(via New York Times)