After pressure from an Islamic group, Northwest Airlines officials will reimburse and apologize to a group of Muslims from metro Detroit who said they were denied entry onto a connecting flight from Germany to Detroit. But the airline continues to maintain that it did nothing wrong.
One day after a press conference organized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Northwest official and Muslim leader said today that the airline will reimburse about 40 Muslim pilgrims who were returning from Islamic holy cities in Saudi Arabia. The pilgrims claim that on Jan. 7, Northwest employees did not allow them to board a plane back to Detroit because of their religion and background.
On Tuesday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations organized a press conference at the Islamic Center of America, in Dearborn. Some members of the mosque were part of the group of Muslims, largely Lebanese-American Shi’ites.
Dean Breest, a spokesman for Northwest Airlines, said Wednesday that “Northwest did not do anything wrong,” but that Andrea Newman, a senior vice president with Northwest, will meet with officials with the Council on American-Islamic Relations to discuss the incident.
Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the council, said that Northwest will reimburse the 40 pilgrims for penalty fees – about $150 each – they had to pay in order to get other flights back to Detroit.
Walid said that Northwest still needs to address what he said was rude behavior by Northwest employees and the lost luggage of some of the pilgrims.