(Reuters) – Two Muslim scholars headed to a conference on American fears of Islam were pulled from a morning flight on Friday, and were later told that the pilot had refused to fly with them aboard.
Masudur Rahman, a professor of Arabic at the University of Memphis, and Mohamed Zaghloul, Imam at the Islamic Association of Greater Memphis, were asked to deplane Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight 5452 from Memphis to Charlotte. They were subjected to additional security checks after the plane had pushed back from the gate, Rahman told Reuters by telephone.
After additional screening, the two men were cleared by Delta representatives to re-board the plane, but were then told the pilot would not take them, Rahman said.
Rahman said both men had been cleared for check-in and boarding by airline and Transportation Security Administration officials during normal pre-flight procedures.