Memphis Imams Masudur Rahman and Mohamed Zaghloul had boarded a flight Friday morning when they were told the pilot wouldn't fly with them aboard. They were going to Charlotte—to attend a conference intended to "address prejudice against Muslims."
You'd think the North American Imam Federation would have learned its lesson in 2006, when six imams traveling to one of its conferences were kicked off a plane in Minneapolis. But no! The organization continues to hold gatherings all over the country, "freely assembling" while trying to "address prejudice." And worse, its members want to fly on planes! While "dressed in traditional long shirts and [with] beards in keeping with Muslim tradition," as Rahman and Zaghloul were on Friday!
According to the two Memphis imams, who spoke with WCNC in Charlotte, they had been screened twice at the airport before boarding the flight. The plane was taxiing on the runway when the pilot turned the plane around; both men were screened for the third time after being removed.
After that security check, he said a Delta employee at the gate informed him that the pilot of the flight would not allow him on board. He says the employees in the airport were very apologetic—even angry—and said they tried repeatedly to convince the pilot that he was wrong.
Rahman said he was even told that the gate agents asked the passengers if they felt uncomfortable about the two Muslim men, and reported back to the pilot that the people on board the plane were not concerned.
It's heartening to hear that the apparent prejudice ended at the cabin door. But it didn't do Rahman and Zaghloul much good. They did eventually get to Charlotte—where they were met by their lawyer.