Muslim sues United Airlines over mid-flight ‘terrorism’ claim, ethnic profiling

David Martosko Executive Editor
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A Texas man sued United Airlines on Dec. 31 over what he claims was a mid-air confrontation with flight attendants who accused him of being a “dangerous” and “out of control” terrorist because they thought his camera was a bomb.

The United employees also “assaulted and battered” him, according to the lawsuit.

Khaled Ibrahim filed the lawsuit in federal court nearly a year after the Jan. 1, 2012 flight from Houston to Lima, Peru. Flight attendants on the aircraft “racially profiled” him, Ibrahim claims, because he is a Muslim “of Middle Eastern descent.”

Several flight attendants, according to the lawsuit, “publicly vilified” him “by calling him such unsavory epitaphs as ‘terrorist’ in front of the other airline crew members and passengers aboard the airplane. … They stated that Plaintiff was ‘dangerous’ and ‘out of control. ‘”

“They accused Plaintiff of carrying a bomb that looked like a camera, when in fact it was a camera. They harassed, intimidated, and threatened to land the plane in Mexico and have me arrested there.”

The lawsuit seeks damages stemming from the violation of Ibrahim’s civil rights, assault and battery, false imprisonment and false arrest.

Details on what led to the altercation are few, and Donald Cheathan, the Houston lawyer representing Ibrahim, did not respond to a request for comment. United Airlines spokeswoman Christen David said the airline is “unable to comment on pending litigation.”

The case is 4:12-cv-03768, Khaled Ibrahim v. UAL Corp., in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

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United Lawsuit — Houston