Arabic-speaking student says he was victim of Islamophobia

AP News
Posted: Apr 19, 2016 2:00 AM
Arabic-speaking student says he was victim of Islamophobia

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A college student and Iraqi refugee yanked from a Southwest Airlines flight after mentioning a terrorist group's name during a phone conversation in Arabic says he was degraded and humiliated and wants a public apology.

Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, who arrived in the U.S. in 2010 as an Iraqi refugee, was removed from the April 9 flight from Los Angeles to Oakland, California, after the airline said another Arabic-speaking passenger reported hearing him say something that alarmed her. The airline said in a statement that it regretted what occurred, but under federal regulations it had no alternative but to remove Makhzoomi.

"To be honest with you, I really was intimidated," Makhzoomi told The Associated Press on Monday. "It was an overwhelming process. They made me feel as if I were guilty."

He was released after being interrogated by Los Angeles International Airport police and FBI agents.