A Muslim media influencer and author alleged on Saturday that she was arrested and removed from an American Airlines flight in New Jersey after a fellow passenger made a complaint that he “felt uncomfortable.”
“I had the craziest experience in TSA this morning. An entitled white man behind me insisted on cutting me in line because I was ‘still taking my shoes off,'” Amani al-Khatahtbeh, the founder of the website Muslim Girl, tweeted Saturday.
The author, who previously ran for New Jersey’s 6th congressional district, was flying from Newark, N.J., to Charlotte, N.C.
Al-Khatahtbeh alleged that the man shoved his belongings before hers and ran through security at the airport, sharing that “Y’all know if I, a VEILED MUSLIM WOMAN, had the audacity to throw a temper tantrum and run through TSA security, I would have gotten BODIED. I would have been detained, missed my flight, possibly gotten charged, etc.”
She later said the man made a complaint about her and alleged that she made him feel “uncomfortable.” She was removed from the flight and “arrested for the first time” over the incident.
Al-Khatahtbeh was removed from the plane by the officers from the Port Authority Police, the New Jersey Herald reported. She was released later on Saturday, and the Port Authority’s independent inspector general has opened an investigation.
American Airlines said in a statement to The Hill that they are “actively investigating” the incident and that they have reached out to al-Khatahtbeh and the man who made the accusation against her, as well as crew members on the plane and other passengers.
“Initial witness accounts indicate the conflict began during TSA screening. Both PreCheck and non-PreCheck screening were consolidated into one open lane. Our understanding is that Ms. al-Khatahtbeh believed the other passenger, who is enrolled in PreCheck, was getting favorable treatment because he was allowed to proceed through security while she was removing her shoes,” American Airlines said.
“This led to a verbal altercation that continued through the terminal and on the plane where Ms. al-Khatahtbeh confronted the passenger and began filming him before taking her seat,” the statement continued.
American Airlines has recached out to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in New Jersey.
CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a Saturday statement that “The airline must immediately explain why it singled out Amani by contacting the police and ejecting her from a flight based on the word of a man who had allegedly harassed her.”