‘No Arabic in the Sky’? Alaska Airlines Sued by Arabic-Speakers

Published August 10th, 2022 - 08:13 GMT
‘No Arabic in the Sky’: Alaska Airlines Sued by Arabic-Speakers

Two US citizens of Sudanese origins have filed a lawsuit against Alaska Airlines, accusing it of "federal and state violation of the men’s civil rights as paying passengers on the flight", after being removed from a domestic fight for exchanging text messages that included Arabic texts and "alarming emojis".

According to the Washington Post, the lawsuit has been filed by Abobakkr Dirar and Mohamed Elamin, who work in the medical transport business, as they were preparing to fly abroad on an Alaska Airlines flight in first class from Seattle to San Francisco in February 2020, before getting removed by staff.

The two men, Abobakkr Dirar and Mohamed Elamin, said that a complaint by a passenger over them speaking and texting in Arabic led to their removal from the flight, additional screening, and security measures in police presence before they were rebooked to their destination on two separate flights.

Arabic alaska

Source: Twitter

Moreover, Abobakkr Dirar and Mohamed Elamin claim they were humiliated by Alaska Airlines employees, as they were treated as suspected terrorists, even after they were cleared by security as "no threat of any kind".

During the screening process, phones were handed to the airline's manager who vetted and translated Arabic text messages, which included rocket and bomb emojis that were found to be referring to "completely innocuous" inside jokes.

The lawsuit cited interruptions of their business trip besides long-lasting emotional distress as a result of the way they were treated by Alaska Airlines.

Since the lawsuit mentions discrimination on the basis of skin color, language, and religion, Alaska Airlines responded with a statement saying "it strictly prohibits discrimination".

The statement also added," our greatest responsibility is to ensure that our flight operations are safe every day, and that includes complying with federal regulations on investigating any passenger safety reports".

Online people widely shared the news, with many referring to similar incidents that included racial profiling in airports, ones that increased significantly following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

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