By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — A Dearborn woman says she was recently harassed on a Delta Airlines Flight because of her Islamic head scarf and Islamic faith.
Darlene Hider, her husband and four children were on a flight from Florida to Detroit on Feb. 2 when the incident allegedly occurred.
Hider said another passenger on the plane told her to calm her children down before the plane took off. She than defended her children saying they are not doing anything wrong.
The passenger also yelled, “This is America” at Hider and her family, she said.
A Delta ticket agent was on the plane for another matter when she intervened in the situation. The agent asked Hider and her children to move to other empty seats on the plane, which she agreed to.
The agent told Hider, “Get your kids and change seats” according to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which is taking action on Hider’s behalf in the situation.
The passenger who allegedly harassed Hider was not told to change her seat, Hider said.
Hider’s brother, Abed Ayoub, Legal & Policy director for the Washington, D.C.,-based ADC, took to his Twitter account Feb. 2 to tweet about the incident, which spread over the social media network with retweets.
The initial tweet read, “My sister wear hijab. She was just assaulted on @Delta flight 1576. She’s with her husband and 4 kids. Airline is not helpful.”
Other passengers showed support to Hider on the flight.
“Update – many passengers supporting my sister and her family. One even crying over incident,” Ayoub tweeted.
Ayoub contacted his sister and tweeted her thoughts.
“‘I felt like I couldn’t defend myself because I was afraid to be called a terrorist’ – My sister, mother of 4, after being harassed on plane.”
A video was recorded by another passenger shows a portion of the incident, but has poor audio quality.
Delta is investigating the incident and issued a statement which included, “Delta doesn’t condone discrimination of any kind.”
The ADC is taking action regarding the situation.
“This incident is an example of the continuing growth of anti-Arab sentiment, and Islamophobia our communities face in America,” ADC president Samer Khalaf said in a statement. “We encourage Delta to take immediate steps to rectify this matter and ensure that their agents are better equipped to address instances of harassment.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])