Radical Islamist Keith Ellison demands to meet with airline officials to defend provocation by 'terror probe' Imams
Ellison attended conference and spoke on Imam and Politics
Ellison seeks meeting on removal of clerics
Congressman-elect wants to meet with US Airways and airport heads to talk about why six imams were taken from a plane going from Minneapolis to Phoenix.
Rochelle Olson, Star TribuneCongressman-elect Keith Ellison wants to meet with executives of US Airways and the Metropolitan Airports Commission to discuss the removal of six Muslim clerics from a flight on Monday.
Ellison sent the letter to US Airways CEO Doug Parker and Jeff Hamiel, executive director of the MAC, late Wednesday. As of Friday, no meeting had been scheduled.
The pilot ordered the imams off the flight after their praying, conversation and behavior alarmed several passengers and flight attendants on the Phoenix-bound flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The incident drew national attention. The Department of Homeland Security's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties has said it will review the incident.
Ellison won election to represent the Minneapolis-centered Fifth District earlier this month, becoming the first Muslim elected to Congress in the country. The airport is within his district.
"While some constituents have understood the fears of the passenger who reported the clerics' prayers as suspicious activity, many more have expressed shock and surprise at what they perceive as discrimination," Ellison wrote.
Ellison, a two-term DFL state representative from Minneapolis, said he wants to hear about the airport and airline's policy on removing passengers from a flight. He said he would bring other legislators and community members to the meeting.
Parker was travelling Friday and Andrea Radar, spokeswoman for the Temple-Ariz.-based airline, was unable to comment on the status of a meeting, but said the airline's investigation continues. "Our director of customer relations met the imams when they arrived here Tuesday and we've been in touch with them since," she said. "As we've said from the beginning, we want to ensure that we have the facts and are always concerned when a customer feels his or her dignity has been offended."
A spokesman for the MAC did not return a call Friday.