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Imams Refused On Flight To Charlotte Sue Airlines

Two imams are suing Delta Air Lines and its partner Atlantic Southeast Airlines after a pilot refused to allow them on a flight bound for Charlotte last spring. The men were trying to attend the annual meeting of the North American Imams Federation in Charlotte. Gadier Abbas represents the men for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He says a pilot with the airline believed Mohamed Zaghloul and Masudur Rahman were security threats based solely on their traditional Arabic clothing, beards and accents. "What happened to them was inexcusable but it already has transpired," says Abbas. "What Imam Zaghloul and Imam Rahman most want is a demonstration that what happened to them won't happen to others in the future." The lawsuit says the Transportation Security Administration in Memphis cleared the men for the flight, but an Atlantic Southeast pilot ordered them off the flight and wouldn't let them board again even after they cleared additional security screenings. Plane captains can refuse to fly a person they deem unsafe, but the decision can't be made solely on the basis of a person's race, color, national origin, religion, ethnicity, or sex. The men eventually got on another flight six hours later. Delta refused to specifically comment on the lawsuit, but said the company opposes discrimination in any form.