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Imams detained in Minneapolis
ABC 7 News
November 21, 2006

By Sarah Schulte

http://www.dhttp://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=nation_world&id=4784947

Click here to read the full Transcript

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A plane is detained at the gate of the Minneapolis airport. Inside -- six Muslim scholars are taken into custody and questioned for hours. Muslim groups across America are outraged and asking for investigation.

U.S. Airways is calling it a security incident -- that started last night when a passenger raised concerns about the six Muslim scholars on the plane. The six religious leaders were taken off the plane handcuffed and detained for several hours.

The Muslim men believe they were singled out because they prayed prior to getting on the plane.

While u-s airways is calling it a security issue, the Muslim community is calling it discrimination.

Instead of a normal flight home it was a long night stuck in the Minneapolis airport for these 6 Muslim religious leaders known as imams.

The men were removed from a us airways flight after a passenger raised concerns about the group to a flight attendant.

"It was the worst thing in my life when I see six Imams being taken off. There is no reason to do that," said Omar Shahin, removed from Plane. The men passed through airport security with no problems the only action that may have raised concerns is something these religious leaders do 5 times a day and that is pray right before boarding the flight 3 members of the group prayed in the terminal. "We did not say it loud. We did not bother anybody."

Muslim civil rights activists here in Chicago are outraged. "We have reached a point where a prayer is suspicious activity," said Ahmed Rehab, CAIR-Chicago. The Imams were detained for 5 hours before being allowed to go home. While U.S. Airways refunded their tickets they refused to let them fly on another flight so, the men took another carrier. The council on American Islamic relations known as CAIR is calling for a full investigation. CAIR Chicago executive director says there still is a long way to go when it comes to educating the public about Muslims. "This is a classic example of anis Muslim hysteria running very strong in this country," Rehab said.

They were in Minneapolis for a religious conference. They are now home in Phoenix. There is an investigation into the behavior of the U.S. Airways staff. An airline spokeswoman says that the six were removed after a passenger raised concerns through a note passed to a flight attendant The airline says it will continue to investigate the incident until it knows the facts and can "provide answers" to those involved.



Copyright © 2006 by ABC 7 News





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