Does Delta Air Lines Discriminate Against Muslims? Questions After YouTube Star Adam Saleh Latest To Be Kicked Off Flight

In what may be the latest case of discrimination against Muslims by Delta Air Lines, two YouTube stars were unceremoniously booted from their London flight when fellow passengers grew nervous after hearing the pair speaking in Arabic.

The New York Times reports that on Wednesday, Adam Saleh, aged 23 and friend Slim Albaher, aged 22, were told by the captain to disembark from the Delta Air Lines flight they were on at Heathrow. What had caused such a commotion? Adam Saleh was reportedly talking to his mother on his phone and after he turned to speak to his friend Slim in Arabic, other passengers became worried that their flight might end up being fraught with danger.

There are some who have pointed to the fact that Adam Saleh is known for pulling pranks and have suggested that this could be another one of them. However, while it is true that Adam Saleh is a YouTube sensation, having garnered more than two million subscribers, the fact that he is known for video hoaxes certainly shouldn’t imply that Wednesday’s event was anything other than discrimination, based purely on the fact that they were Muslim and speaking in Arabic. Even other passengers on the flight the pair were on corroborated with their side of the story.

Hannah Shraim at a study session with the Muslim American Society of Maryland on May 7, 2016.
Hannah Shraim at a study session with the Muslim American Society of Maryland on May 7, 2016. [Image by Jacquelyn Martin/AP Images]

Lest you believe that Wednesday’s flight with Adam Saleh and Slim Albaher was just an isolated incident, history shows that this isn’t the first time that Delta Air Lines has come under fire for discrimination against Muslims.

The Independent reported back in August that Faisal Ali and Nazia Ali, a young Muslim couple who were set to fly from Paris to Cincinnati, found themselves waiting for 45 minutes aboard their flight in Paris before they were asked to step off the plane to be questioned. Their crime? The Delta Air Lines flight crew heard them use the word “Allah” and claimed they were sweating, something that is certainly not unheard of when people are packed like sardines in tiny seats.

Mrs. Ali was frightened that the pilot had asked them to leave the plane, as she related to The Independent.

“We asked if we should get our stuff and he said, ‘Yes, take all of your stuff as you won’t be on that flight.’ That was really alarming. I was scared because it looked like some random guy was taking pictures of our passports on his personal phone.”

Hijab Day in Pakistan on September 4, 2012.
Hijab Day in Pakistan on September 4, 2012. [Image by K.M. Chaudary/AP Images]

After Mr. and Mrs Ali were further interrogated by a US customs agent the next day, they were more worried than ever and asked what the problem was. The custom agent’s response sums up perfectly where the West is at now when it comes to their bias against Muslims.

“You have done nothing wrong. Unfortunately, this is the way the world is right now. It is Delta’s word against yours.”

These two stories are far from anomalies as Huffington Post reported yet another incident of Muslim discrimination with Delta Air Lines, this time dating back to February 2015. In this case, a Muslim mother of four was on a flight from Fort Lauderdale to Detroit when she was harassed by another passenger because of the hijab she was wearing.

Despite the fact that this woman was being verbally abused on the flight in front of her own children, Delta Air Line’s flight crew refused to come to her aid and intervene in the matter. To make matters worse, Delta even suggested that the mother should move to the back of the plane.

While Delta Air Lines are certainly not alone when it comes these types of incidents on planes, the cases above should highlight the urgent need for understanding and tolerance so that the persecution of Muslims will end. Or, at the very least, people will finally stop panicking just because a fellow passenger is speaking another language like Arabic, the only thing Adam Saleh did on Delta Air Lines that attracted attention.

[Featured Image by Mark Lennihan/AP Images]