UC Berkeley student says Southwest Airlines removed him for speaking Arabic


An incident in which Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, a senior at UC Berkeley, was removed from a Los Angeles to Oakland flight on April 6 is stirring up controversy for Southwest Airlines.

The Daily Californian: Berkeley student questioned, refused service after speaking Arabic on flight

Makhzoomi was removed and questioned by FBI when a fellow passenger reported him for conducting a phone conversation in Arabic. The incident occurred a day after Makhzoomi attended a dinner with UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council. Makhzoomi said he was not given a proper explanation for the decision to remove him.

In a statement, Southwest Airlines said Makhzoomi was removed because of "potentially threatening comments made aboard our aircraft," and added that it doesn't tolerate discrimination of any kind. But despite the company's statements, its decision drew outrage from many.