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College Student, Iraqi Refugee Removed from Plan for Using Traditional Arabic Greeting

Southwest Airlines plane.

Southwest Airlines plane.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A college student and refugee who fled Iraq after his father was killed by Saddam Hussein, was pulled from a Southwest flight and questioned by the FBI for using a traditional Arabic greeting, The Daily Californian reports. 

Khairuldeen Mahkzoomi was on a flight from Los Angeles to Oakland when it was reported that he said the phrase, “inshallah,” meaning “if God is willing,” to his uncle over the phone.

A passenger reported hearing Mahkzoomi say the word “shahid,” which means martyr.

Mahkzoomi was removed from the plane and interrogated by the FBI.

“The way they searched me and the dogs, the officers, people were watching me and the humiliation made me so afraid because it brought all of these memories back to me,” Mahkzoomi told the Daily Californian. “I escaped Iraq because of the war, because of Saddam and what he did to my father.”

The airline company responded: “We regret any less than positive experience on board our aircraft. … Southwest neither condones nor tolerates discrimination of any kind.”


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