'Most humiliating day of my life': Muslims barred from flight after 'flushing toilet twice'

'Most humiliating day of my life': Muslims barred from flight after 'flushing toilet twice'
Isam Abdallah and Abderraoof Alkhawaldeh say they were discriminated against on the basis of their religion after their flight was cancelled.
2 min read
20 September, 2019
Two Muslim men are demanding an inquiry after claiming discrimination. [Getty]

Two Muslim men in the United States have demanded an investigation after their flight was cancelled because the crew were "not comfortable to fly" with them on board.

Isam Abdallah and Abderraoof Alkhawaldeh were on board a Mesa Airlines flight to Dallas from Alabama when suddenly all passengers were forced to disembark.

"It was the most humiliating day of my life," Abdallah told reporters.

In a news conference organised by the Council for American-Islamic Relations, Alkhawaldeh and Abdallah say airline staff racially profiled them.

The pair had been travelling alone but recognised each other on board from the local Muslim community.

Abdallah then visited the toilet soon after, but when he opened the door he saw the flight attendant standing outside "like she was eavesdropping".

Shortly afterwards the flight was cancelled, and the two men were interrogated by plain clothes officers and an FBI agent.

When Abdallah asked what was happening, the agent said airline staff called the police because they were "not comfortable flying" with them.

The agent said the reason was that Abdallah "went to the restroom and... flushed twice".

"I felt [they were] discriminating against my ethnicity, my religion," Mr Abdallah told reporters.

In a statement, American Airlines said: "We're committed to providing a positive experience to everyone who travels with us."

"Our team is working with Mesa to review this incident, and we have reached out to Mr Alkhawaldeh and Mr Abdallah to better understand their experience."

The airline has face accusations of discrimination in the past.

In 2017, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a human rights group, warned black flyers that American Airlines "could subject [travellers to] disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions".

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