New York, Aug. 5 : Opening about their ordeal of being thrown off a Delta Air Lines because of Islamophobia, a Pakistani-American couple said they were singled out because flight crew had allegedly noticed them "sweating" and saying the word "Allah", which they denied.
Faisal Ali and Nazia Ali were waiting for about 45 minutes on a Delta Air Lines flight in Paris to fly back to Cincinnati, Ohio, when a Delta employee asked the couple to exit the aircraft as he needed to ask them questions.
"We asked if we should get our stuff and he said yes, take all of your stuff as you won't be on that flight," the Independent quoted Nazia, as saying.
A French police officer waiting outside the gate then interrogated them about their stay in Paris and said that he had no problem with them.
The couple was in Paris to enjoy a brief holiday for their 10th wedding anniversary. The Delta employee then explained that the pilot had decided to ask them to leave as one of the crew members had felt "uncomfortable" in their presence.
The crew member had reportedly seen Faisal hide his phone as they walked by, and that Faisal had been sweating and saying "Allah".
To this, Faisal said that he had been texting his mother to let her know they had safely boarded the flight, and added that he might have been sweating due to poor air circulation on the plane as it had been on the tarmac for about 45 minutes.
"We just went straight to the terminal and they booked us on the next flight home, so they know we didn't do anything and we know that we didn't do anything," said Nazia.
The couple, who have three young children under the age of five, were booked into a hotel by the airline overnight.
They were interrogated again by a US customs agent at the airport the next day. When Faisal asked what they had done wrong, the agent said: "You have done nothing wrong, unfortunately this is the way the world is right now.
It is Delta's word against yours." They finally boarded the plane and Nazia said she still felt scared.
The Council of American-Islamic Relations has filed a complaint against the airline and said that the couple had been discriminated .
To this, Delta Air Lines spokesman Morgan Durrant responded, "Delta condemns discrimination toward our customers in regards to age, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or gender.
Delta continues its investigation into this matter and will issue a full refund of these customers' airfare.".