DETROIT – Muslim civil rights organization urges local authorities to lay hate crime charges against woman who the group said verbally berated an African-American Muslim woman on an Atlanta-Detroit flight on 11 September, then hit her – and was arrested.
“We demand that the suspect who allegedly spat anti-Muslim remarks during the assault be charged with full legality,” said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations ( CAIR). “Prompt arrests as well as harsh prosecutions must be instituted to deter future acts of anti-Muslim hate crimes.”
The incident, on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is one of many that American Muslims – especially in Detroit – have reported over the past two decades.
According to CAIR’s account of what happened on the plane, Aicha Touré was traveling on Spirit Airlines flight 3807 when a white woman, whom she did not know, “sparked altercations with members minority crew on the flight “.
When the flight landed, the woman also began to “harass and intimidate an older woman who appeared to be of South Asian descent.”
Touré asked the woman to stop cursing the other woman.
The white woman would then have become violent and would have qualified Touré as a “Muslim terrorist”. But when the white woman realized that Touré and others were recording her comments, she punched Touré with her fist and was later arrested by authorities.
The Wayne County Airport Authority Police Department confirmed the arrest, saying “there appears to have been a misunderstanding between two women. A third woman stepped in to try to help. The third woman stepped in. woman was assaulted “.
Authorities took the suspect into custody and cited her for assault and disorderly conduct.
So far this year, the Federal Aviation Administration has imposed more than $ 1 million in fines on “unruly” passengers.
The agency announced $ 531,545 in civil penalties in August, with proposed fines ranging from $ 7,500 for a passenger who allegedly threatened to kill someone sitting near him to $ 45,000 for a passenger who allegedly threw objects. – including her hand luggage – onto other passengers and put her head in the skirt of a flight attendant.
President Biden also recently issued an executive order ordering the Transportation Security Administration to double fines for travelers who refuse to mask themselves at airports and “on certain modes of public transportation.”
Spirit responded to the recent incident by saying the airline seeks to make its guests “feel safe, welcome and respected” and do not “tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind.” He confirmed that a female passenger “chose to use terrible language” and that she “is no longer welcome on any of our flights”.
“This person’s alleged actions are reprehensible and she has clearly targeted religious and racial minorities for her violent words and actions,” CAIR-MI lawyer Amy Doukoure said of the Detroit incident. “Michigan’s Ethnic Bullying Act was created to protect people like Ms. Touré from assault after being labeled a Muslim terrorist during a trip to mark the 20th anniversary of September 11.”
In 2015, CAIR asked Spirit Airlines to apologize to four passengers who were removed from a flight departing from Thurgood Marshall International Airport in Baltimore / Washington, according to the Baltimore Sun. In this incident, the airline denied that the ethnicity or religion of the passengers played a role.
A woman and three men boarded a flight to Chicago, but were escorted off the plane and questioned after a witness reported “suspicious activity” to the flight crew, said Maryland Transportation Authority police, according to The Sun.