Muslim toddler removed from US flight on security grounds
An 18-month-old girl has been taken off a JetBlue Airways plane in the United States because her name appeared on a no-fly security list.
The parents of the toddler, who were also taken off the plane, said on Friday that they were humiliated by the security officials’ action.
“We were put on display like a circus act because my wife wears a hijab,” Riyanna’s father told WPBF 25 News, ABC’s local affiliate in West Palm Beach, Florida.
He said the incident was motivated by prejudice because they are Muslims and of Middle Eastern descent.
A JetBlue spokeswoman called it a “computer glitch” and stated that the airline was investigating the May 8 incident, which occurred at Fort Lauderdale airport in Florida. JetBlue also issued an apology to the family, who live in New Jersey.
“We believe this was a computer glitch,” JetBlue said in a statement. “Our crewmembers followed the appropriate protocols, and we apologize to the family involved in this unfortunate circumstance.”
The family was eventually allowed to re-board the flight, but the family instead left the airport in protest.
The Transportation Security Agency said the little girl could not have been on the government watch list because she’d already been issued a boarding pass.
A poll by the Pew Research Center conducted last year showed that abuse of Muslims by US airport security, law enforcement officers, and others has increased considerably since American Muslims were first polled in 2007.
Almost 43 percent of American Muslims reported experiencing harassment in 2010, a three percent increase in the number reported in 2007.