Muslim mother claims harassment on Delta flight
An Arab-American Muslim woman who wears a hijab, says she was harassed by another passenger on an airplane and then told by a flight attendant to move.
Darlene Hider, 32, said she was with her four kids and husband on a Delta Air Lines flight on Monday from Florida back to Detroit when another woman yelled at her, "This is America!" and insulted her because of her Islamic faith.
Instead of asking the woman to stop or moving her, a flight attendant told Hider and her kids to move to another open seat, Hider told the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC).
According to Hider, the flight attendant said: "You are at my wit's end. You better be quiet before I kick you off of this plane!"
Hider said the attendant told her: "Get your kids and change seats."
Hider's brother, Abed Ayoub, who is legal and policy director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, described what happened to her in series of tweets on Monday night that drew widespread attention, including retweets from actress Mia Farrow.
"Bigot threatens Muslim family," Ayoub tweeted. "Crew does nothing." Ayoub said that other passengers were supportive of his sister and her family and one even cried over it.
"I felt like I couldn't defend myself because I was afraid to be called a terrorist" - My sister, mother of 4, after being harassed on plane— Abed A. Ayoub (@aayoub) February 3, 2015
Hider said the flight attendant should have moved the woman who harassed her, not herself and her kids.
Brian Kruse, a spokesman for Delta, said: "We have been in touch with the customer. We have been reviewing the situation. Delta does not condone discrimination of any kind."
The ADC released a video that it said showed part of the incident.
It shows a flight attendant talking to Hider's husband.
She's heard saying: "You want to get off the plane? ... I'm fixing the problem ... If you want, we will take you out."
The alleged incident is the latest case that Arab-Americans and Muslims say illustrates their ongoing problems with flying on airplanes.
Some say they are profiled and either prevented from boarding flights or sometimes harassed on them because of their faith or ethnicity.
The president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Samer Khalaf, said: "We encourage Delta to take immediate steps to rectify this matter and ensure that their agents are better equipped to address instances of harassment."
Ayoub said that Hider told him: "I felt that I couldn't defend myself or kids because I was afraid of what more they'll do ... I was afraid to be called a terrorist."
Detroit Free Press/TNS