A Muslim woman claims she was kicked off a Southwest flight after she asked to switch seats because of her religious beliefs.
Hakima Abdulle of Takoma Park was flying from Washington, D.C., to Seattle Wednesday when she was seated between two men after a layover in Chicago, her husband, Abukar Fidaw, told WJLA.
The devout Muslim, who is from Somalian descent and was wearing a hijab, felt uncomfortable sitting between two people of the opposite sex, so she asked another passenger to trade seats. The other flyer agreed, but a flight attendant confronted Abdulle before she could move to the new spot, Fidaw said.
“She tried to sit but (the flight attendant) said, ‘You are not going to sit. You have to leave the airplane,’” Abukar Fidaw said. Humiliated, Abdulle left the plane as instructed. She was booked onto another flight later that day.
The Council on American Islamic Relations demanded the airline apologize for booting Abdulle from the plane without reason. The group also wants Southwest to refund her airfare and make sure the flight attendant in question undergo diversity training.
Southwest told local media that the staffer followed proper procedures but did not elaborate on what led the flight attendant to ask Abdulle to leave. The airline did not.