Man gets probation for grabbing woman's headscarf on flight

Gill Parker Payne has been sentenced to probation after removing a woman's religious headscarf.
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Gill Parker Payne has been sentenced to probation after removing a woman's religious headscarf.

A man who acknowledged grabbing and pulling off a Muslim woman's hijab on a flight from has been sentenced to a year of probation that includes two months of home confinement.

Federal prosecutors say 37-year-old Gill Parker Payne, from North Carolina, also was ordered to pay a US$1000 (NZ$1390) fine following the incident on the Chicago to Albuquerque flight.

Payne pleaded guilty in May to a misdemeanour charge of obstructing a person's free exercise of religious beliefs in connection with the December 11 incident on a Southwest Airlines flight.

The incident took place on a Southwest Airlines flight on December 11.

The incident took place on a Southwest Airlines flight on December 11.

In his plea agreement, Payne said he grabbed and removed Khawla Abdel-Haq's hijab, a religious headscarf, midflight. He was seated several rows behind her and did not know her.

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Payne told her: "Take this off! This is America!" before grabbing the hijab, the Mail Online reported.

Abdel-Haq told Judge Steven Yarbrough that she was afraid to leave her home for three weeks.

"No matter one's faith, all Americans are entitled to peacefully exercise their religious beliefs free from discrimination and violence," Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, said when Payne pleaded guilty in May.


 

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 - AP

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