Director of interfaith engagement and Muslim chaplain at Northwestern University, Tahera Ahmad, was flying on Friday from Chicago to Washington. Wearing a hijab, Ahmad was on her way to a conference meant to promote dialogue between young Israelis and Palestinians.
During the United flight, Ahmad says she was subject to racial discrimination from both flight attendants and passengers. It began when she requested an unopened can of soda during in-flight beverage service. CNN reports:
The flight attendant told her that she could not give her one but then handed an unopened can of beer to a man seated nearby. Ahmad questioned the flight attendant.
“We are unauthorized to give unopened cans to people because they may use it as a weapon on the plane,” she recalled the flight attendant telling her.
Shocked by the flight attendant’s implications, Ahmad asked other passengers if they had seen what happened. According to Ahmad, a man across the aisle responded, “You Muslim, you need to shut the fuck up.”
“I felt the hate in his voice and his raging eyes,” Ahmad wrote on Facebook while the plane was still in flight. “I can’t help but cry ... because I thought people would defend me and say something. Some people just shook their heads in dismay.”
United issued a statement reaffirming their commitment to diversity:
“We and our partners do not discriminate against our employees or customers. We are reaching out directly to Ms. Ahmad to get a better understanding of what occurred during the flight.”
On Saturday, Ahmad told CNN that she had not yet heard from United.
Image via Getty.