Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, a UC Berkeley student and Iraqi refugee whose father was killed under Sadam Hussein’s oppressive regime, was pulled off a Southwest Airways flight allegedly for simply speaking in Arabic. According to Makhzoomi, he called his uncle after boarding the plane, speaking excitedly in Arabic as he told him about attending a dinner at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council — an event that was also attended by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. But after he hung up, he says a female passenger began eyeing him suspiciously and reported him, at which point he was removed from the flight and searched by security officials and police dogs.
Officials found no evidence of any wrongdoing, but Southwest refused to fly Makhzoomi back to Oakland. When they eventually called him back on days later to say he was clear to fly, they offered no apology.