Nine Muslim-Americans were removed from a AirTran Airways plane Thursday evening. The nine of them, including three children, were taken off a flight going from Washington, D.C. to Orlando because one of the group made a remark about the safety of the aircraft.
One of the men in the group said to another about their child sitting in a seat adjacent to one of the planes engines and they began talking about the safest place to sit on an airplane. Another passenger became suspicious after overhearing the conversation about “airplane security” and notified a flight attendant, who then notified the pilot and air marshals who were present. The group of men, women and children were then removed.
AirTran finally responded Friday with an apology saying, "We regret that the issue escalated ot the heightened security level it did," they released in the statement. They also refunded the family’s money and offered to fly them back to Washington for free. But the damage was already done. Initially the airline did not allow them back on the plane or re-book the family even after they were cleared by the FBI, who would eventually help re-scheduele a flight to Orlando with another airline.
Immediate talk of racial profiling surfaced by the group. After they were escorted off, feelings of disrespect were felt. One of those detained, Kashir Irfan said, "We did feel like we were being singled out, not because of what we had said or some members had said, but rather the fact that we looked a certain way and we wore certain pieces of clothing." Of course people would see the beards and headscarves from Arab-Americans and could be lead to believe that they’re Muslims and could perhaps be involved with terrorist acts.
Not for nothin’, but you can’t help but to wonder if the airline would have done the same thing if this was a Caucasian family. If so, then perhaps this whole ordeal may have been warranted. Otherwise its rather inexcusable. We’re constantly reminded, particularly in airports, "if you see any suspicious behavior" then report it. Well anyone could have the potential for suspicious behavior, but are we to expect officials are to act the same way to everyone, or single out a specific race. Its a post-9/11 world and even though its quite unfortunate its still expected. But that’s not much of an excuse either as minorities are abundantly subjected to these types of racial profiling.