SOUTHWEST APOLOGIZES FOR REMOVING MUSLIM PASSENGER FROM FLIGHT - TOP Michele McPhee, AOL News, 3/16/11
Southwest Airlines is apologizing after a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf was pulled off a flight on Sunday because a flight attendant thought she heard her say into her cell phone: "It's a go."
Irum Abbasi, a San Jose University graduate student, was slated to fly at 8:15 a.m. fromSan Diego when she hurriedly finished a phone call to a Verizon representative by saying sharply, "I have to go," Edgar Hopida, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, tells AOL Travel News.
The call prompted a flight attendant to report that Abbasi seemed suspicious and the captain announced the flight would be delayed. Minutes later, TSA agents boarded the flight and escorted the student off the plane.
"She went through the security check. She went through the secondary check because of her headscarf, which was fine. We learned that the flight attendant thought she said, 'It's a go.' The flight attendant indicated she did not feel comfortable with the student on the flight," says Hopida.
CAIR says the incident left Hopida "emotionally distraught and crying." The organization held a press conference demanding an apology from the airline at San Diego International Airport early this morning. (More)
VIDEO: OUTRAGE AFTER CALIF. MUSLIM REMOVED FROM PLANE (CAIR) - TOP
Southwest Airlines apologized on Wednesday to a Muslim woman removed from one of the carrier's jets before a flight out of Lindbergh Field, due to concerns about a comment she made while awaiting takeoff.
Irum Abassi, a graduate student at San Diego State University, was wearing an Islamic head scarf when she was told Sunday that she had to leave the plane because a flight attendant considered her "suspicious," Abassi said at a news conference.
The airline expressed regret over the episode, which caused Abassi to miss her 8:15 a.m. flight.
"We sincerely apologize for the customer's inconvenience, and we regret that she was unable to travel as scheduled," the Southwest statement said. "We accommodated her on the next flight to San Jose, and we issued her a travel voucher as a gesture of good will for her inconvenience."
The local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations complained about the woman being taken off the plane. (More)
COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS CRITICIZES UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN'S TRESPASS POLICY - TOP Lee Higgins, AnnArbor.com, 3/16/11
The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is joining the American Civil Liberties Union in its criticism of University of Michigan's trespass policy that allows the school to ban juveniles and adults from campus property for life without charging them with a crime.
University officials recently proposed revisions to the policy after the ACLU challenged the constitutionality of it following a report last fall by AnnArbor.com highlighting several controversial cases of trespass warnings being issued.
Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR-Michigan, a civil rights organization for American Muslims, said one of the group's members, Nazih Hassan of Ypsilanti, is on the list of about 2,000 people who have been banned from campus property since 2001. Walid is sharing his concerns about the policy with the ACLU. (More)
SHARIA THREAT BANDWAGON JUST KEEPS ROLLING ON - TOP Sarah Posner, The Guardian, 3/16/11
The Peter King hearing is a showcase for the cottage industry of conspiracy theories about Muslim destabilisation of America
. . .A cottage industry of self-styled national security experts, pundits, ardent Christian Zionists, Republican operatives, thinktanks, and advocacy groups have spent years laying the groundwork for portraying American Muslims as part of worldwide plot to "Islamicise" America. This cottage industry has fuelled rising anti-Muslim bigotry in the US, including growing efforts to thwart the building of mosques and community centres, an increasing number of states taking up bills that would ban sharia law, and now, King's highly publicised hearings. All of this is the result of a relentless campaign years in the making.
The conspiracy theory about sharia law is fivefold: that the goal of Islam is totalitarianism; that the mastermind of bringing this totalitarianism to the world is theMuslim Brotherhood, the grandfather of all Islamic groups from Hamas to the Islamic Society of North America; that these organisations within the US are traitors in league with the American left and are bent on acts of sedition against America; that the majority of mosques in the US are run by imams who promote such sedition; and that through this fifth column sharia law has already infiltrated the US and could result in a complete takeover if not stopped. (More)