The Council on American-Islamic relations reported that two Muslim men were sent out of a plane Friday in a Tennessee flight bound to North Carolina because the pilot refused to fly them aboard, WBTV said.
Wearing the traditional Muslim attire, Imams Masudur Rahman and Mohamed Azaghloul were pulled out from Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight 5452 that would take them from Memphis to Charlotte.
Ironically, the pair was supposed to attend a North Carolina conference on prejudice against Muslims where they will be giving lecture on fear of Islam or "Islamophobia."
They told the WBTV on Friday that they were cleared by the TSA and everything went well inside the plane.
Things began to turn bad for the two Islam leaders when the pilot said, "We need to go back to gate." At the time the aircraft was heading to the runway.
A Delta supervisor then ordered Rahman off the plane.
Supervisor: "Mr. Rahman, sorry the pilot is not allowing you to enter the plane."
Rahman: "For what reason, TSA had a problem and we were cleared, we don't have anything and we are respected people in our community."
The Muslim man who is a professor at the University of Memphis asked the pilot why he had to be removed from the plane, the pilot told him, "Passengers might be upset or uncomfortable."
Rahman's attorney, Mo Idibili, told the media, "The only reason the pilot has cited was some of the passengers didn't feel comfortable, but when the passengers were asked if they felt uncomfortable, none of them indicated that they were."
A statement from the airline company said, "Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight 5452 from Memphis to Charlotte returned to the gate to allow for additional screening of a passenger and the passenger's companion.
"We take security and safety very seriously, and the event is currently under investigation.
"Compensation and re-accommodation on the next available flight were immediately offered to the passenger and the passenger's travel companion.
"We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused."
TSA spokesman said it was not the agency's decision to refuse boarding.
Reminding him of the African-American activist Rosa Parks during the civil rights movement, the Muslim professor said, "It reminded me when the black lady was kicked from the bus because of racism. That history I found today in that plane, and it shouldn't happen with any other person."
Details of this report here.