A Muslim family removed from an airliner Thursday after passengers became concerned about their conversation say AirTran officials refused to rebook them, even after FBI investigators cleared them of wrongdoing.
Atif Irfan said federal authorities removed eight members of his extended family and a friend after passengers heard them discussing the safest place to sit and misconstrued the nature of the conversation.
Irfan, a U.S. citizen and tax attorney, said he was "impressed with the professionalism" of the FBI agents who questioned him, but said he felt mistreated when the airline refused to book the family for a later flight.
Looks like another case of "flying while brown" striking again. My wife and I have had similar conversations about where the safest place in the plane to sit is and we were never approached by the FBI. Moreover, my wife is rather uncomfortable flying, especially when there is a lot of turbulence, and has even muttered statements about the plane going down or crashing. Again, we were not detained. At least the FBI tried to get AirTran to rebook them after clearing the family; AirTran's refusal to rebook them is a bit absurd.
Over the last few years our Indian students on the mock trial team have been subjected to more "random searches" than any of our Caucasian students when we fly to tournaments. Sometimes I want to change my name to something Middle Eastern just to see if I will be treated differently by TSA. "He looks white but his name is 'strange-looking' and hard to pronounce. I'm confused on what to do..."
A word of wisdom to Islamophobes. It's unlikely there will be any "safe" place on the plane if terrorists intend to destroy it.