Trial sought in imams' airport suit

Jan. 4, 2008 at 9:44 AM
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MINNEAPOLIS , Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Airport officials in Minneapolis and US Airways are seeking a jury trial for a lawsuit filed by five Muslim clerics who were removed from a plane.

The Metropolitan Airports Commission, which oversees Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and the airline are also seeking immunity for employees named in the suit, claiming they are protected by a "John Doe" law passed last year by the U.S. Congress that guards people acting in an official capacity to prevent terrorist attacks, The Washington Times reported Friday.

The civil rights suit was filed by Ahmed Shqeirat, Mohamed Ibrahim, Didmar Faja, Omar Shahin, Mahmoud Sulaiman and Marwan Sadeddin after the men were removed from a flight for suspicious behavior. The suit claims officials engaged in "intentional discrimination" when they removed the imams from the plane.

"We believe the police officers acted appropriately and that it is important that airports across the nation be able to take action when there is a reasonable belief that travelers could be threatened," said Patrick Hogan, MAC spokesman.

"In this case, there were travelers and flight crew members who raised concerns, and we worked with federal authorities who interviewed the imams," Hogan said. "We believe the process worked as it should to protect the traveling public."

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