Muslim professor shown being dragged off flight claims racial profiling

Friday, 06 October 2017, 06:27:44 PM. A professor who was dragged off a Southwest Airlines flight in Maryland by police after telling the crew she had an allergy to dogs says she was discriminated against.

External Link: A fellow passenger filmed the woman being removed from the plane

A professor who was filmed being dragged off a Southwest Airlines flight in Maryland says she believes she was a victim of racial profiling.

Anila Daulatzai, who is Muslim, said on ABC's Good Morning America she was mistreated after she told the crew on a September 26 flight to Los Angeles she was allergic to dogs in the cabin.

She said the crew initially agreed she could sit far away from the dogs, but later told her they were concerned about her being on the plane altogether.

Southwest Airlines said Professor Daulatzai told flight attendants the allergy was life-threatening and asked for the dogs to be removed from the plane.

She could not provide medical certification of her condition and was subsequently asked to deplane at which time the police were forced to intervene, the airline said.

But Professor Daulatzai insisted she repeatedly and calmly explained her allergy was not life-threatening and was content once she was positioned in a seat towards the rear of the plane.

External Link: @GMA: Woman dragged off flight speaks out; pregnant passenger claims she was targeted."

"I said, 'It's not life-threatening at all'," she told ABC America.

"They just didn't trust me."

Professor Daulatzai said she believed she was discriminated against because she was "a brown woman with a hoodie".

She also revealed on the program she was two months' pregnant.

In a statement, Professor Daulatzai's lawyers said she was, "profiled, interrogated, detained, and subjected to false reporting and the trauma of racist, vitriolic public shaming precisely because she is a woman, a person of colour, and a Muslim".

"Despite trying to convince the crew that she would be completely fine on the plane, she was asked by another Southwest representative to leave the plane," the statement read.

"Shortly thereafter [officers] pulled her from her seat by her belt loop, dragged her through the aisle, exposed with torn pants, and humiliated her for the world to see in a now-viral video.

"The Maryland Transportation Authority Police [MDTA] later disparaged her, accused her of lying about her pregnancy, and made racist remarks about immigrants."

Professor Daulatzai said since the incident she had received hate mail, "including racist messages and threats of further violence".

Passenger films all-too familiar incident

muslim-professor-shown-being-dragged-off-flight-claims-racial-profiling photo 1 Photo: Police remove the woman as passengers wait to depart Baltimore airport. (YouTube: Bill Dumas)

A film producer recorded the ensuing struggle between Professor Daulatzai and the officers and posted it online.

One officer pushed her from behind while another pulled her from in front, the video showed.

"What are you doing?" she asked. "I will walk off. Don't touch me."

muslim-professor-shown-being-dragged-off-flight-claims-racial-profiling photo 2 Photo: Professor Daulatzai is a socio-cultural anthropologist who has worked as a scholar within Harvard. (Supplied: Harvard Divinity School)

"All right, let's walk. Let's walk," one of the officers answered.

"She put up a pretty ferocious fight to not be removed from the plane," said Bill Dumas, the film producer who took the video.

Mr Dumas said the police officers, "were in a very, very tough situation" because of Professor Daulatzai's resistance, and Southwest did not have much choice because the plane would not take off until the woman left.

Last week, Southwest airlines said it was, "disheartened by the way this situation unfolded and the customer's removal by local law enforcement officers".

In a statement to The Washington Post, the MTDA said: "Despite her clear attempt to resist a law enforcement officer, Daulatzai was professionally removed from the aircraft within the guidelines of the MDTA Police."

The incident involving Professor Daulatzai is the latest in a number of instances involving passengers being forcibly removed from aircraft which have gone viral online.

In April, United was widely condemned after security officers in Chicago dragged a 69-year-old man off an overbooked United Express flight to make room for crew members flying to their next flight.

muslim-professor-shown-being-dragged-off-flight-claims-racial-profiling photo 3 Video: The footage that captured David Dao being dragged off the United plane went viral (ABC News)

AP/ABC

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Article Muslim professor shown being dragged off flight claims racial profiling compiled by www.abc.net.au