Southwest Airlines sued after Iraqi man removed from flight for talking in Arabic

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The US’s Southwest Airlines has been sued by a civil rights group on behalf of a Muslim man who was removed from a flight before takeoff after talking on his phone in Arabic.

According to Washington Post, the incident occurred in April and the man was interrogated by the FBI.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) sued the airline on behalf of Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, a US citizen who came to the country as a refugee from Iraq and was a student at the University of California at Berkeley at the time of the incident.

The discrimination lawsuit states that an FBI agent later told Makhzoomi that he had been removed from the plane because he had been speaking in Arabic, saying: “Next time you are flying, don’t use your phone, just sit there.”

The complaint states that Makhzoomi, who was at Los Angeles International Airport and was heading home to Oakland, had been talking to his uncle excitedly about having just attended an event where he heard former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speak.

The call reportedly aroused the suspicions of another passenger and members of the flight crew.

He was then “admonished” by an airline employee, who allegedly said: “You know the environment is very dangerous.”

He was then ordered off the plane by local law enforcement officers ordered him off the plane, then searched and questioned.