Quantcast
Connect with us

College student booted from Southwest flight after passenger heard him say ‘God willing’ in Arabic

Published

on

A UC Berkeley student whose family fled Iraq in 2002 after his diplomat father was killed under Saddam Hussein’s regime, was booted from a Southwest Airlines flight and questioned by the FBI after another passenger heard him speaking Arabic, NBC Bay Area reports.

In a story originally reported in the Daily Californian, student Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, 26, states he was flying home from attending a dinner at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council with Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon when he stopped to make a call to an uncle.

ADVERTISEMENT

Makhzoomi explained that conversation was conducted in Arabic and, as he said goodbye, he used the phrase “inshallah,” which translates as “if God is willing.”

The student said that after hung up, he noticed a female passenger looking at him who then got up and left her seat.

“She kept staring at me and I didn’t know what was wrong,” he explained. “Then I realized what was happening and I just was thinking ‘I hope she’s not reporting me.’”

Moments later an airport employee asked Makhzoomi to step off the plane and onto the passenger boarding bridge where he was greeted by three security officers.

ADVERTISEMENT

Makhzoomi was told the woman thought he said “Shahid,” meaning martyr — a term linked to Islamic terrorists

After pointing out the incident was rooted in Islamophobia, the student was told he would not be allowed to get back on the plane as he heard one of the security officers speaking with the FBI.

“At that moment I couldn’t feel anything,” he said. “I was so afraid. I was so scared.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Security officers searched his bag again and asked him if he had any other luggage he was keeping secret.  Makhzoomi claimed that one officer publicly felt around his genital area and asked him if he was hiding a knife.

“That is when I couldn’t handle it and my eyes began to water,” he said. “The way they searched me and the dogs, the officers, people were watching me and the humiliation made me so afraid because it brought all of these memories back to me. I escaped Iraq because of the war, because of Saddam and what he did to my father. When I got home, I just slept for a few days.”

Makhzoomi said after the FBI arrived they questioned him about his family, and about his phone call and what he knew about martyrism.

ADVERTISEMENT

After the interrogation was over, an FBI agent informed Makhzoomi that Southwest would not fly him home. He later booked a flight on another airline, arriving home nine hours later than expected.

According to a spokesperson for Southwest Airlines, the student was removed because crew members decided to “investigate potentially threatening comments made onboard our aircraft.”

Mahkzoomi said he now wants an apology.

ADVERTISEMENT

“All I need is an apology to say, ‘We are sorry we singled you out because [of] one person who felt threatened,'” he said.

Watch video below from NBC Bay Area:

ADVERTISEMENT

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

Trump lies to the press about his massive tax increasing while departing to France for the G7 Summit

Published

on

President Donald Trump was caught repeating inaccurate claims when he spoke to reporters before boarding Marine One for his trip to France for the G7 Summit.

"I think our tariffs are very good for us. We're taking in tens of billions of dollars, China is paying for it," Trump argued.

In reality, China is not paying for the tariffs, which are paid by American importers and passed on to consumers, making the announcement a massive tax increase on Americans.

"Our tariffs are working out very well for us, people don't understand that yet," Trump argued.

Watch:

Continue Reading

Facebook

Bill Maher presents ’25 things you don’t know about Stephen Miller’ on Real Time

Published

on

The host of HBO's "Real Time" presented "25 things you don’t know about Stephen Miller" on Friday.

"In high school, I was voted 'Most Likely to Comb My Mummified Mother's Hair,'" was one item.

"I think tacos are stealing jobs from hamburgers," was another.

"I'm a Cancer. I don't know my astrological sign," was a third.

"The worst part about my car smelling like wet dogs, is that I don't own dogs," was a fourth.

Watch:

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Bill Maher dances on David Koch’s grave: ‘I’m glad he’s dead and I hope the end was painful’

Published

on

HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher celebrated the death of right-wing billionaire David Koch, who died of prostate cancer.

"I guess I'm going to have to reevaluate my low opinion of prostate cancer," Maher said.

"Condolences poured in from all the politicians he owned and mourners are being asked, in lieu of flowers, to just leave their car engine running," he said.

"I know these seem like harsh words and harsh jokes, and I'm sure I will be condemned for them on Fox News, which will portray Mr. Koch as a principled libertarian who believed in the free market," Maher said. "He and his brother have done more than anybody to fund climate science deniers -- for decades."

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
LEARN MORE
close-link
close-image