This woman was kicked off plane for being Muslim, her response is brilliant

A US Muslim woman has been booted off a plane and prevented from going on holiday, apparently just for wearing a headscarf.

Kameelah Rasheed, an artist from Brooklyn, had already been pulled aside for additional screening, reports Al Jazeera, but was allowed to board the United Airlines flight from Newark Liberty International Airport to Istanbul. However, before the plane could get airborne, Rasheed was ordered off, in front of all the other passengers, and taken for questioning by an FBI agent. She said:

It was an attempt to humiliate and ostracise me.

She had her phone and passport confiscated and was grilled over a period of two and a half hours. The whole episode left her so shaken that even though United booked her onto another flight, she’s not sure when she’ll feel capable of flying again. Bang goes that Turkish holiday, disappeared in a puff of prejudice.

Rasheed noted that of the 200 or so passengers on the flight, she was the only one with any obvious Muslim appearance, namely her headscarf. There’s a scene in the movie ‘Up In The Air’ where George Clooney’s character is dispensing advice on how to get through airports quickly. He glances at a group of men of Arab appearance and says: “Five words – randomly selected for additional screening.” This kind of stereotyping only requires a small increase in levels of threat perception to become full-blown profiling, where people are assumed to be suspicious, or maybe even guilty, purely because of their racial or religious identity. Rasheed pinpoints this here,

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.

Read on...

Rasheed responded to some of the less-than-helpful advice that was thrown her way:

Since the Paris attacks, the gutter press have been stoking hatred and bigotry on their front pages and in cartoons. Wannabe politicians and media overlords have made rash pronouncements. And the madness has spread, from beauticians to internet trolls. Rasheed contends that this is just a fresh eruption of an old problem:

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.

It’s frustrating to me that I can’t fly like a normal human being.

But if the Feds had just spent a moment on Twitter, they would have discovered that Kameelah Rasheed is as American as…

Fortunately, there are occasions when decency fights back. The actions of passengers in Newcastle and the backlash against The Sun are both signs that we don’t have to simply accept the language and attitudes of fear and ignorance.

Featured image via Twitter / Flickr

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed