US MUSLIM FORCED OFF PLANE CITES ISLAMOPHOBIA

World Bulletin
World Bulletin

New Jersey, 17 Safar 1437/29 November 2015 (MINA) – After passing through regular security checks at Newark Liberty International Airport on her way to a holiday in Istanbul, Kameelah Rasheed was called for further questioning by customs officers.

She was later allowed to board the Lufthansa flight a code share with United Airlines, but eventually forced to leave the aircraft ahead of takeoff in order to be interrogated by an FBI agent, World Bulletin quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

The 30-year-old Muslim American said that the two-and-a-half-hour ordeal a day earlier has left her traumatised and unable to consider flying any more.

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“It was an attempt to humiliate and ostracise me,” she said.

“I think this happened because I’m Muslim, because I’m travelling to Istanbul, because they have power with no checks and balances, because security means violating people’s rights, because there’s a general lack of understanding of what safety means, because people don’t understand basic geopolitical situations.”

Al Jazeera has contacted the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates Newark Liberty airport, for comment.

Rasheed is one of a number of Muslims in the US, or people perceived to be Muslim, who say they have been on the receiving end of profiling since the attacks in Paris on November 13, which were claimed by ISIL.

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Rasheed said that she was the only passenger of about 200 who was asked to leave the flight on Tuesday, as the customs officers confiscated her passport and phone.

“I was the only visibly Muslim person,” said the New York resident, who wears a headscarf.

Rasheed, an artist, educator, Stanford University graduate, Fulbright scholar and contributing editor at The New Inquiry, added that while the airline had booked another ticket for her, she was scared of being targeted again on her onward journey and chose not to travel.

“I don’t think there is a resurgence of Islamophobia after the Paris attacks. I think it never went away. It’s becoming more legitimised.

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“Right after 9/11, you could do it commit hate crimes towards Muslims for a couple of years and no one would blame you. And now after Paris, it’s like, ‘look at what they did, I can treat them how I want’. We didn’t make any progress.” (T/P006/R03)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)