US Airways threw several Muslim clerics off a flight. Apparently they were guilty of being Muslim while flying.
The alert was raised after the men performed their normal evening prayers in the airport terminal before boarding Flight 300. (Watch how one of the men was treated at a US Airways desk Video)
A passenger who had seen them pray passed a note expressing concern to a flight attendant, US Airways spokeswoman Andrea Rader told The Associated Press.
The passenger thought the imams -- who were speaking in Arabic and English -- had made anti-U.S. statements before boarding and "made similar statements while boarding," said Russ Knocke, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security.
...The clerics were returning from a conference in Minneapolis of the North American Imams Federation, Omar Shahin of Phoenix, president of the group, told the AP.
"They took us off the plane, humiliated us in a very disrespectful way," Shahin said.
Shahin said three members of the group prayed in the terminal before the six boarded the plane.
They entered individually, except for one member who is blind and needed to be guided, Shahin said. Once on the plane, the six did not sit together, he said.
"We did nothing" on the plane, Shahin said.
According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the clerics were handcuffed and questioned for several hours by authorities before being released.
...Patrick Hogan, spokesman for the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission, told the AP the airline asked airport police to remove the six men from the flight because some witnesses reported the men were making anti-American statements involving the Iraq war.
...[One of the clerics] told the AP that when he went back to the airport Tuesday morning, he was told by a ticketing agent his payment for the flight had been refunded. He said the agent told him that neither he nor the other imams could purchase tickets from US Airways.