RELIGION

Muslim Woman Tahera Ahmad Says She May Pursue Legal Action Against United Airlines For Discrimination

06/08/2015 01:28 pm ET | Updated Jun 08, 2015

After claiming she faced discrimination on a United Airlines flight on May 29, Muslim passenger Tahera Ahmad told HuffPost Live that she has not ruled out pursuing legal action against the company.

Ahmad, who is a Northwestern University chaplain, described the "horrible experience" in a Wednesday interview and said that a flight attendant refused to give her an unopened can of diet soda because she thought Ahmad would "use it as a weapon." When host Caroline Modaressy-Tehrani asked if she plans to take any legal steps, Ahmad said she is considering "all options" to ensure future passengers don't experience a similar encounter.

"I am not looking to get this flight attendant fired. ... She made a terrible mistake, and people make mistakes," Ahmad said. "I have asked for United [Airlines] to really recognize this. If they choose to just gloss over it, as they had in their last statement, that's really unfortunate. So, at this point I am going to consider all options in which to ensure this kind of utter humiliation does not happen to anyone."

Ahmad, who was aboard a Shuttle America flight that serves United Express customers, said the flight attendant gave another passenger an opened can without a problem, which she perceived as a clear act of discrimination. When Ahmad pressed the issue, another passenger interjected and said, "You Muslim, you shut the 'F' up. ... You know you would use it as a weapon, so you need to shut the 'F' up." According to Ahmad, the flight attendant didn't intervene.

"It was just a really horrible experience because this man is basically shouting over and trying to silence me, and the flight attendant didn't do anything," she said. "There was no bystander intervention."

While the airline originally called the encounter a "misunderstanding," it has since pulled the flight attendant from future flights with United Express and will be retraining the worker.

Watch the full HuffPost Live interview with Tahera Ahmad here.

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