April 27, 2016

Flying while Muslim

The Stream looks at recent incidents of Muslims being removed from US airlines and how they are responding.

From the moment many Muslims step foot in an airport, their demeanor changes, as they are, at times, met with suspicious stares, extra screening and in extreme cases removed from flights. 

On April 6, Iraqi refugee Khairuldeen Makhzoomi was traveling from Los Angeles to Oakland, California on Southwest Airlines when he was removed from the aircraft during boarding, after another passenger heard him speaking Arabic on the phone. The airline said the passenger who reported Makhzoomi overheard “comments perceived to be threatening”. This is not a rare occurrence. The Council on American-Islamic Relations reports there have been at least six cases of Muslims being pulled off flights thus far in 2016 alone.

Hate crimes against Muslim Americans and mosques around the US have tripled since the Paris and San Bernardino attacks, according to a recent study by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University. 

So, how should Muslims respond to the current political environment? What divisions exist within the “community” regarding what to do about the difficulties of flying while Muslim? And what does this mean for Muslim-American identity? Join the conversation at 19:30 GMT.

On this episode of The Stream, we'll speak to:

Khairuldeen Makhzoomi @KhairyMakhzoomi
Researcher at the Near Eastern Department of UC Berkeley

Dalia Mogahed @DMogahed
Director of Research, Institute for Social Policy & Understanding

Haroon Moghul @hsmoghul
Senior Fellow, Center on Global Policy

Amer Zahr @AmerZahr
Adjunct professor at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, comedian and writer

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.