Organization Asks For Apology, Compensation
Someone once said that history
doesn't repeat itself... but it does rhyme. That seems appropriate
here, for a couple of reasons.
The Sacramento Bee reports the pilot of a US Airways flight
ordered Gulbag Singh, Davinder Singh, and Iqbal Singh off their
plane at Sacramento International Airport on November 15. The three
men -- who belong to the Sikh faith, and were wearing turbans --
were on their way to a musical performance in Salt Lake City when
they were told to get off Flight 493 to Phoenix.
"The US Airways representatives were unable to give a clear
explanation for why the pilot wouldn't fly with them," said the
mens' attorney, Jaspreet Singh. "The interpreter finally told them,
'Just listen, don't do anything else. Just take the offer of a
hotel overnight and they'll put you on a Delta flight in the
morning to Salt Lake City.'"
"They were very, very upset about this," added the attorney, who
works for the international organization United Sikh.
US Airways spokesman James Olsen confirmed the incident took
place, saying the men were removed from the flight "based on some
observations from passengers and airline personnel," who cited
"potential security concerns."
Olsen didn't give any details of the mens' alleged suspect
behavior. "After resolving the concerns raised, US Airways provided
overnight accommodations and rebooked these travelers on the next
nonstop flight from Sacramento to their final destination."
United Sikhs counters the incident raises the ominous specter of
racial profiling, similar to that seen in the days following
9/11... when Sihks were the target of violence due to their outward
similarities to practicing Muslims.
"In the formal complaint letter to
US Airways, United Sikhs stressed the severity of the racial
profiling and discriminatory treatment, asked for an apology and
compensation for the three Sikhs, and offered training for US
Airways staff," reads a release from the organization.
This isn't the first time US Airways has been at the center of a
highly-publicized example of apparent discrimination.
As ANN reported, six Islamic imams were
removed from a US Airways flight in November 2006 for suspicious
behavior, and allegedly making anti-American comments.
The religious leaders were returning from a conference in
Minneapolis-St. Paul when they were taken off the plane,
handcuffed, and questioned by authorities. The men later sued for
Practitioners of Sikhism note their religion is not affiliated
with -- and, in many ways, is fundamentally different from --