A Muslim family has claimed they were racially profiled against after they were kicked off a United Airlines flight from Chicago.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday that has been shared nearly 40,000 times, Eaman-Amy Saad Shebley wrote that she and her family were on a Washington, D.C.-bound plane at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport when they were asked to leave the aircraft.
In a video included in her post, a woman identified by a local NBC News affiliate as a flight attendant said to the family, “We’re going to ask that you step off the aircraft with all your belongings.”
A man, identifying himself as the husband, asked why, and the flight attendant replied, “Because they are investigating.”
A man identified by NBC News as the pilot said in a second video that the family must deplane because “it is a safety of flight issue.”
“Shame on you #unitedAirlines for profiling my family and me for no reason other than how we look and kicking us off the plane for ‘safety flight issues’ on our flight to DC for the kids spring break,” Ms. Shebley wrote. “My three kids are too young to have experienced this. “
A spokesperson for the airline sent NBC News the following emailed statement:
“We reached out to the family following their flight on March 20 to discuss their concerns. They were originally scheduled to fly on SkyWest 5811, operating as United Express from Chicago O’Hare to Washington, D.C., but we rebooked them on a later flight because of concerns about their child’s safety seat, which did not comply with federal safety regulations. Both United and SkyWest hold our employees to the highest standards of professionalism and have zero tolerance for discrimination.”
But that explanation didn’t satisfy the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has sent a letter to the airlines on behalf of the family demanding a formal apology, disciplinary measures against the staff involved and mandatory sensitivity training for crew members.
“We are tired of Muslim-looking passengers being removed from flights for the flimsiest reasons, under a cryptic claim of ‘security,’” CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab said in a statement.
“Security means securing passengers, not harassing and humiliating them and booting them off their flight for, of all things, actually asking for security,” he said. “This family did nothing to earn the flight crew’s scorn, other than trying to understand how they can best secure their baby. Several witnesses corroborate that. We expect United, which has a recent history of similar complaints, to take this incident and this general trend with all seriousness.”
Courtesy Washington Times