Imams removed from US Airways flight in Nov. say they will sue - East Valley Tribune: News

Imams removed from US Airways flight in Nov. say they will sue

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Posted: Monday, March 12, 2007 2:34 pm | Updated: 6:17 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

MINNEAPOLIS - Six Islamic leaders who were removed from a US Airways flight in November said they will sue the airline for discrimination.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations announced the planned lawsuit on Monday and said it would provide details on Tuesday. It declined to say which court the group would sue in, or provide the name of the attorney handling the case.

Six imams returning from a religious conference in November were taken off a plane in Minneapolis, handcuffed, and questioned. They had prayed on their prayer rugs in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport before the flight, and after they boarded, a passenger passed a note to a flight attendant. When the men returned to the airport the next day, they said, the airline refunded their fare and refused to sell them another ticket.

US Airways Group Inc. has said prayer was never the issue. A passenger claimed overhearing anti-U.S. statements and the men got up and moved around the airplane, the airline said.

The men said they had done nothing that should have been suspicious. The announcement of the planned lawsuit said "their removal from the flight was based on racism and religious intolerance."

Imam Omar Shahin, one of the six imams detained and the president of the North American Imams Federation, declined to comment Monday and referred questions to CAIR.

A U.S. Airways spokeswoman did not immediately return a phone message left by The Associated Press.

The incident prompted the Muslim Public Affairs Council to complain to the Transportation Department, and the Homeland Security Department's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties said it would investigate.

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