Math equations mistaken for Arabic? Why Italian professor was pulled off US airplane

Published May 8th, 2016 - 05:25 GMT
The math professor who was apparently mistaken for a jihadist on a airplane last week. (photo: University of Pennsylvania)
The math professor who was apparently mistaken for a jihadist on a airplane last week. (photo: University of Pennsylvania)

An Italian mathematician was pulled off a plane in the US on Thursday and accused of terrorism after writing math equations in a notebook, according to multiple reports.

The woman seated next to him appears to have thought the equations were Arabic 

The shocking story was reported yesterday in the Washington Post and The Guardian. The mathematician, Guido Menzio, is an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, which is one of the best universities in the US. 

Menzio was escorted off an American Airlines flight from Philadelphia to Syracuse on Thursday. Menzio was reportedly told by a security agent that he was being "accused of terrorism," the Post said. 

After explaining that his notes were not in Arabic, but were in fact mathematical equations, Menzio was allowed back on the flight. 

"It's hard not to recognize in this incident, the ethos of [Donald] Trump’s voting base,” he told the Post. 

Late last year, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump stoked Islamophobic fears by saying that Muslims should be banned from entering the US until US lawmakers can figure out how to stop terrorism.

In late April, Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, a student at the University of California Berkeley, was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight for saying the word "inshallah". 

In March, a Muslim family from Illinois was asked to leave a United Airlines flight in Chicago after the parents asked for an extra strap to secure their youngest child's booster seatThe mother of the family was wearing a hijab, and alleged at the time that airplane staff were discriminating against her as a result.  

--HS 


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