United Airlines boycotted over alleged 'Islamophobic' incident on a flight

Tahera Ahmad
Tahera Ahmad

United Airlines is being boycotted over claims of an alleged 'Islamophobic' incident on a flight.

Tahera Ahmad, a Muslim US university chaplain, says that a United Airlines flight attendant refused to give her a drink in an unopened can in case she used it "as a weapon".

Ahmad, who is Director of Interfaith Engagement and Associate Chaplain at Northwestern University in Illinois, claimed she was on a flight and asked a flight attendant for an unopened can of Coca-Cola.

Her request was refused, she says, because the attendant claimed Ahmad - who wears a Hijab in her Facebook profile picture - may have used it "as a weapon on the plane."

Yet, Ahmed said in a Facebook post, the attendant then immediately proceeded to hand the male passenger sitting next to her an unopened can of beer.

When Ahmad challenged the flight attendant on why the man next to her was apparently able to have an unopened can without being a security threat, the attendant said she was "unauthorised to give unopened cans to people because they may use it as a weapon on the plane" and then "quickly grabbed" the man's unopened can of beer and opened it, according to Ahmad.

"She was clearly discriminating against me," Ahmad wrote in an emotional Facebook post from the plane, before adding that she had expected other passengers around her to come to her defence, but none did and one man shouted at her "You Moslem [sic], you need to shut the f** up."

Ahmad claimed she couldn't help but cry because she thought "people would defend me and say something" and could "feel the hate" in the voice of the passenger who yelled at her.

She added the hashtag ‪#‎IslamophobiaISREAL‬ to her Facebook account of the experience.

The hashtag #UnitedForTahera soon spread on Twitter, as supporters pledged not to use United Airlines until it apologised for what what called a display of "blind, idiotic hatred."