A UC Berkeley student was kicked off a plane for speaking Arabic to his uncle


Khairuldeen Makhzoomi is a 26-year-old UC Berkeley student and a refugee from Iraq. Makhzoomi was on a Southwest Airlines plane, waiting for take off, and chatting with his uncle in Arabic when a woman began to look at him funny, The Daily Californian reports:

When Makhzoomi hung up, he noticed a female passenger looking at him. Once he made eye contact with her, she got up and left her seat.
“She kept staring at me and I didn’t know what was wrong,” he said. “Then I realized what was happening and I just was thinking ‘I hope she’s not reporting me.’”

Makhzoomi was then approached by an airport employee, who took him off the plane and passed him along to security officers. The security officers, the Daily Cal reported, asked Makhzoomi if he was hiding a knife.

The FBI eventually arrived, and informed him Southwest wouldn’t allow him on the flight home. (He received a refund, the Daily Cal reported.)

Makhzoomi was heading back from Los Angeles after a dinner at the World Affairs Council with Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.

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