Southwest is sued by Arabic speaker who was removed from plane
Southwest Airlines Co was sued on Tuesday by an American citizen who came to the United States as an Iraqi refugee, and said he was removed from a California flight after another passenger became unnerved upon hearing him speak in Arabic.
Khairuldeen Makhzoomi said he is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for civil rights violations, discrimination and emotional distress stemming from the “Islamophobia” underlying the April 6, 2016 incident, which began as he awaited takeoff to Oakland from Los Angeles.
Makhzoomi said he had been seated and talking with his uncle by phone, after attending a dinner featuring United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, when two police officers and Southwest employee Shoaib Ahmed removed him from the plane.
He also said Ahmed, who is also a defendant, admonished him by saying, “Why are you talking in Arabic? You know the environment is very dangerous.”
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