Pakistani-American couple kicked off US flight 'for sweating, saying Allah'

Published: August 5, 2016
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The married couple had to stay overnight in Paris although they had three young children waiting at home. PHOTO: Nazia Ali

The married couple had to stay overnight in Paris although they had three young children waiting at home. PHOTO: Nazia Ali

A Pakistani-American couple who accused Delta Airlines for singling them out because flight crew noticed them ‘sweating’ and saying ‘Allah’ have opened up about their ordeal for the first time.

Faisal Ali and Nazia Ali were waiting for about 45 minutes on a Delta Airlines flight in Paris to fly back to Cincinnati, Ohio when an employee asked them to exit the aircraft as he needed to ask them questions.”We asked if we should get our stuff and he said, ‘Yes, take all of your stuff as you won’t be on that flight’,” Nazia told The Independent.

“That was really alarming. I was scared because it looked like some random guy was taking pictures of our passports on his personal phone,” she said. The Delta employee explained that the pilot had decided to ask them to leave as one of the crew members had felt ‘uncomfortable’ in their presence, as the crew member had reportedly seen Faisal hide his phone as they walked by, and that he had been sweating and saying ‘Allah’.

Muslim woman kicked off US flight as attendant ‘did not feel comfortable’

After interrogating them about their stay in Paris, where the couple went to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary, the officer said he had no problem with them and there was nothing else he could ask the couple. When Faisal asked what they had done wrong, the agent said, “You have done nothing wrong, unfortunately this is the way the world is right now. It is Delta’s word against yours.” They finally boarded the plane and Nazia said she still felt scared. “We now know that just because you’re on the flight doesn’t mean you won’t be asked to leave – until you’re airborne,” she said.

The first stop on their anniversary was London. PHOTO: NAZIA ALI

“We just went straight to the terminal and they booked us on the next flight home, so they know we didn’t do anything and we know that we didn’t do anything,” said Nazia. “I told my four-year-old that you’ll see me tomorrow, in another nine hours,” she said. “But that didn’t happen.”

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Faisal explained that he had been texting his mother to let her know they had safely boarded the plane as she would be picking them up from Cincinnati airport. “I wanted to get on that plane so badly. I didn’t care about my privacy, I just wanted the captain to see my phone so he could see we were just texting our parents,” she said. He added he might have been sweating due to poor air circulation on the plane as it had been on the tarmac for about 45 minutes. Faisal and Nazia Ali are US citizens originally from Pakistan.

The couple enjoyed their holiday seeing the sights in Paris. PHOTO: NAZIA ALI

The Council of American-Islamic Relations has filed a complaint against the airline and said that the couple had been discriminated against.“By falsely construing their simple and normal actions into something scary and threatening, it is clear that Mr and Mrs Ali were being singled out due to their Muslim appearance and name,” wrote staff lawyer Sana Hassan.

Muslim woman befriends terrified passenger who saw her text the word ‘Allah’

Delta Airlines spokesperson Morgan Durrant responded, “Delta condemns discrimination toward our customers in regards to age, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or gender.  As a global airline that brings hundreds of thousands of people together every day, Delta is deeply committed to treating all of our customers with respect.  Delta continues its investigation into this matter and will issue a full refund of these customers’ airfare.”

This article originally appeared on Independent.

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Reader Comments (48)

  • Uzi
    Aug 5, 2016 - 12:53PM

    What did I just read? Whats going on in this world?Recommend

  • Naeem
    Aug 5, 2016 - 1:49PM

    Aaaawww, so bad..
    Maybe these God loving should give uptheir US pasports..Recommend

  • Rahul
    Aug 5, 2016 - 2:02PM

    “You have done nothing wrong, unfortunately this is the way the world is right now. It is Delta’s word against yours.”

    Sums it up. The World vs Muslims.Recommend

  • FAZ
    Aug 5, 2016 - 2:10PM

    Refund? You should be sued to pay millions!Recommend

  • Pnpuri
    Aug 5, 2016 - 2:21PM

    One wonder why we are afraid of fellow human for the reason that they call God as Allah, khuda or ishwar. As a child I learnt one of favourite hymn of Mahatma Gandhi the second stanza reads ” ishwer Allah Tero naam Sab ko sanmati de BHAGWAN ” your name is ishwer your name is Allah, God bless everyone with good sense. But in religious bigotry we have lost our human instinct Recommend

  • Brainy Bhaijan
    Aug 5, 2016 - 2:23PM

    It looks as if the west has had enough of Muslims and if Trump wins, such event would be a common day to day thing over there.Recommend

  • Rao
    Aug 5, 2016 - 2:23PM

    So, saying “Allah” is committing to an act of rage or terrorism? Lots of people say “Jesus!” or “Christ!” every day. Doesn’t mean they are going to bleepin’ explode! Recommend

  • Sriraj
    Aug 5, 2016 - 2:32PM

    That is how the world is. That is how the Americans follow their rule. If somebody has a problem with it then probably they should avoid US all together, can they? No, i thought so.

    Even bigger names like shahruk khan, APJ abdul kalam had to go through such tough security measures. Thats how it is…you can take it OR leave it.Recommend

  • point
    Aug 5, 2016 - 3:07PM

    @Naeem:
    It has nothing to do with them loving God or not!! grow up. You are just nothing but a liberal with a narrow mind!!Recommend

  • rich
    Aug 5, 2016 - 3:09PM

    come back to Pakistan and be freeRecommend

  • Adnan
    Aug 5, 2016 - 3:11PM

    When the whole world is on edge over terrorism, why would somebody troll the passengers? Recommend

  • Last Man Alive
    Aug 5, 2016 - 4:39PM

    American and Delta Airlines’ cabin crew will soon be pushing Muslim passengers out

    on the following pretext feeling threatened / uncomfortable reasons :

    I heard a Muslim guy tinkle in the lavatory I feel so very uncomfortable.
    I think I heard a Muslim passenger burped oh I so much feel threatened.
    I heard a Muslim passenger snore while sleeping, this is dubious behavior I
    feel totally unsafe.
    I just saw a Muslim passenger yawn the second time within ten minutes this is
    alarming, she has to leave the aircraft instantly.
    Recommend

  • Shah
    Aug 5, 2016 - 4:39PM

    Stop behaving and dressing up like Arabs. It does not make you a better Muslim!Recommend

  • ali baba
    Aug 5, 2016 - 4:44PM

    @rich: Come here in Pakistan and face your hard luck :pRecommend

  • Sarfaraz Hussain
    Aug 5, 2016 - 5:02PM

    Anyone suffering from some sort of complex is most likely to do what USA PEOPLE are doing these days. I can only say MAY GOD HELP THEM.Recommend

  • Amit Lunia
    Aug 5, 2016 - 5:26PM

    Very sad that a Shia Muslim had to undergo all such tribulations in spite of no fault of theirRecommend

  • Azhar88
    Aug 5, 2016 - 5:52PM

    This is what happens when we collectively destroy our motherland. it boils my blood when new immigrant sahibs who used to work in wapda, customs etc buy million dollar homes in canada.Recommend

  • curious2
    Aug 5, 2016 - 6:41PM

    The term Allahu Akbar has become the death chant right before Muslim Terrorist blow themselves up …. so any Westerner who hears the term Allah being said on a plane is going to get nervous. One would think Muslims would have figured this out by now.Recommend

  • Tom
    Aug 5, 2016 - 6:55PM

    Muslims doesn’t have to yell allah, allah, wherever they are in the midst of people. I am a Christian and don’t shout Christ, Christ, everywhere I go, or wherever I am. Be concerned about other people also, not just your right to scream allah.!!!!Recommend

  • Tom
    Aug 5, 2016 - 6:56PM

    @curious2:
    Makes you wonder doesn’t it.!!!!!!!!!!!!Recommend

  • Sick mind
    Aug 5, 2016 - 7:03PM

    I see many people saying how can saying allah be dangerous…when islamic terrorist kill innocent people loudly screaming allah then the context of the word changes as they kill people in name of god…food for thought for peaceful muslims Recommend

  • SYED
    Aug 5, 2016 - 7:13PM

    These captains have started behaving like Kangaroos now. Recommend

  • IndianDude
    Aug 5, 2016 - 8:07PM

    It is sad that because of violent did of fellow pakistanis muslims belonging to majority faith, this shia couple had to bear hardship and insult. The shias/ismail/khoja etc. muslim community are generally peaceful, may be due to their sufi linkage.Recommend

  • SaneVoice
    Aug 5, 2016 - 8:40PM

    @Azhar88: Well said. i hope the same future awaits the likes of Bhuttos and Shariffs. Recommend

  • Ghaznavi
    Aug 5, 2016 - 9:09PM

    @Amit Lunia: How do you know they are Shia or Sunni? Having Ali as last name does not make anyone Shia or not Sunni. BTW it doesn’t matter if their last name was Goldstein or Kumar and if they said Allah or Hi Ram. What airline did is simply unacceptable Recommend

  • PS
    Aug 5, 2016 - 11:01PM

    No one in western countries like Pakistanis.Recommend

  • SKS
    Aug 5, 2016 - 11:06PM

    Havent you heard ‘in rome…. roman’. If you want to be USA, dont be an arab or Pakistani.Recommend

  • Raul
    Aug 5, 2016 - 11:14PM

    They probably staged this to get attention and money.Recommend

  • Black Hawk
    Aug 5, 2016 - 11:34PM

    Its better to be safe than sorry & you can’t blame the airline if you act suspiciously. Now this couple will try to milk money or goodies from the airline. If the are so very discriminated, would they give up citizenship of this unjust country & move back to Pakistan? I think not!Recommend

  • haideri
    Aug 6, 2016 - 1:07AM

    If dumbs trumps can represent them in elections then such hate crimes also can not be doubted…Recommend

  • kamal
    Aug 6, 2016 - 1:21AM

    The Iranians have been right about the US since 1979.Recommend

  • zahid
    Aug 6, 2016 - 3:07AM

    @Shah:
    Shah said the only sensible thing in all this incessant ramblings. What’s wrong with the dupatta that your parents wore not too long ago? Also to note I see Indians possess just an incredible hatred for Muslims. Their comments are shameful. It’s unbelievable that Gandhi came from this hate mongering lot.Recommend

  • Aug 6, 2016 - 4:06PM

    The Captain of an aircraft or ship is the ” Lord of the Manor ” it is in his Total command, in the days of yore They would of walked the plankRecommend

  • lkhan
    Aug 6, 2016 - 6:32PM

    Sadly, this is how it is now, and we have ourselves to blame. Rather than be all covered up and whatnot, if making the most of western countries vis-a-vis employment, health, education and other services, why not also accept and integrate in their cultures and society? Why stand out as different, as a threat… If not willing to change, why not return to your countries of origin where no one would give you a second glance….Recommend

  • Tp
    Aug 6, 2016 - 6:47PM

    Muslims have a clear choice – religion or the Western way of life. The two can’t mix anymore.Recommend

  • JD
    Aug 7, 2016 - 2:10AM

    @lkhan:

    Khan nice random muslim name I am sure it’s real
    Right why not wear Bikini and they can also have wet Tshirt contest because that is what American is about not serving your country <10,000 muslim in US military> Get a education and work never get arresed pay taxes on time and put back into the system
    Recommend

  • JD
    Aug 7, 2016 - 2:13AM

    @Black Hawk:
    so you mean why didnt the jews just accept the nazi rules or move back to Palestine/ Israel
    Why didnt black people just accept slavery or move back to africa

    Accept discrimination or move back that is the two options right?Recommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav
    Aug 7, 2016 - 6:27AM

    @zahid:
    Yeah now you would remember Gandhi for your own convenience, otherwise he is a “Hindu Baniya” for Pakistanis. Hypocrisy is another name of Pakistan. Recommend

  • Kalimullah
    Aug 7, 2016 - 6:54AM

    Why not use Islamic airlines? Some even have curtains on windows and separate sections for women. Prayer areas are also provided and only halal food is allowed.Recommend

  • wb
    Aug 7, 2016 - 7:15AM

    @Ghaznavi:

    “How do you know they are Shia or Sunni? Having Ali as last name does not make anyone Shia or not Sunni. BTW it doesn’t matter if their last name was Goldstein or Kumar and if they said Allah or Hi Ram. What airline did is simply unacceptable”

    Disagree. EVerything matters. Chanting Ram or Jesus is perfectly acceptable. But the name of Arabic God itself reeks of terror.

    So, 1450 years of Isalmic history is to take the blame here.Recommend

  • [email protected]
    Aug 7, 2016 - 7:18AM

    What rule? To scrutinize people that way is not a rule. It’s Apartheid. I bet they will take no action against the crews who done that.Recommend

  • Milind
    Aug 7, 2016 - 8:09AM

    @zahid – From the news item its clear nobody world over likes Muslims. How can Indians be excluded from that.. All those who love peace, equality, progress will dislike regressives.Recommend

  • B Shivaramakrishna
    Aug 7, 2016 - 10:51AM

    This incident is the inevitable consequence of Muslims using Islam to intimidate Non-Muslims under one pretext or the other in Canada, US, Argentina, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Cyprus, Chechnya, Dagestan, Xinjiang, India, Southern Thailand, Mindanao, Australia etc. and as a consequence using Islamic slogans etc.. Till such time as Muslims ensure a complete cessation of violence perpetrated by co-relgionists under any excuse, Non-Muslims will justifiable view public displays of Islamic piety with suspicion.Recommend

  • Mani
    Aug 7, 2016 - 12:33PM

    @point:

    You’re a fool if you think Naeem is a liberal. Look up the meaning of liberal and then pass such comments. Or you will only embarrass yourself. Recommend

  • B Shivaramkrishna
    Aug 7, 2016 - 1:28PM

    This incident is the inevitable consequence of Muslims using Islam to intimidate Non-Muslims under one pretext or the other in Canada, US, Argentina, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Cyprus, Chechnya, Dagestan, Xinjiang, India, Southern Thailand, Mindanao, Australia etc. and as a consequence using Islamic slogans etc.. Till such time as Muslims ensure a complete cessation of violence perpetrated by co-relgionists under any excuse, Non-Muslims will justifiable view public displays of Islamic piety with suspicion.Recommend

  • Vikram
    Aug 7, 2016 - 7:08PM

    Delta continues its investigation into this matter and will issue a full refund of these customers’ airfare………….Good way for Pakistanis to fly Delta for free,,,,,,,they should just shout Allah hu Akbar.Recommend

  • HZR
    Aug 8, 2016 - 9:35PM

    @curious2:
    It is no maore invoking the name of god but the fear of attack and imminent death is the response.Do you blame the public for this reaction?Recommend

  • Suzan Maida
    Aug 9, 2016 - 1:46AM

    @PS:
    Please don’t feel that way. I am an American woman who will be marrying a Pakistani man soon. I love Pakistan and the good and generous people. It is just that western people listen to lies the news media tells. Give the world some time, this to shall pass.Recommend

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