(Chicago, IL. 11/21/06) – The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) is fielding local media inquiries regarding the detention of six Imams, or Islamic religious leaders who were removed from a US Airways flight in handcuffs at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Monday night. The Imams, who were returning to Arizona from a conference, were handcuffed and removed from the airplane and subsequently questioned for several hours by authorities. They described the ordeal as “humiliating.”
A spokeswoman for US Airways said concerns about the group had been raised by a passenger who reported “suspicious activity” to cabin crew.
The Imams told CAIR they suspect the “suspicious activity” cited by authorities was the performance of normal evening prayers offered by members of the group in the airport before boarding the flight. This was confirmed by a third-party witness.
“At what point does prayer become “suspicious activity” that warrants handcuffs, detention and FBI investigations?” asked CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab. “It is not so surprising when you consider the barrage of polemical commentary fed to the public on a daily basis where Muslims and Islam are made synonymous with terrorists and terrorism.”
Rehab cited CNN’s Glenn Beck program as a source of Islamophobic rhetoric.
CAIR-Chicago is available for comment in response to the unfortunate incident.
CONTACT: CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, 312 212 1520, 847-971-3963, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
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