MINNEAPOLIS, (AP) — The six imams who were removed from a US Airways flight after passengers reported they were acting suspiciously won’t include those passengers in their lawsuit against the airline and police, an attorney for the imams said Wednesday.
Attorney Frederick Goetz of Minneapolis said a motion to amend the complaint to include the names of the individuals responsible for the imams’ removal was entered Tuesday in U.S. District Court. He said that list includes the names of airline employees and police officers, but no passengers.
The Islamic religious leaders were removed from the flight last fall after passengers reported what they considered suspicious behavior. The imams, who were handcuffed and questioned, claim the airline discriminated against them and violated their civil rights.
Initially, the lawsuit named as defendants John Does who reported the suspicious behavior, later amending that to identify them as those who “may have made false reports” against the imams with the intent to discriminate.
Last week, lawmakers in Congress reached a deal on a homeland security bill to include language, crafted in response to the imams case, that would give immunity from lawsuits to people who report suspicious behavior. The bill passed the House and Senate.
The imams were at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Nov. 20, preparing to return to Phoenix after attending a conference in Minneapolis.
A passenger raised concerns about the imams €” who were not sitting together €” through a note passed to a flight attendant. Also, witnesses reported that the imams made anti-American comments about the war in Iraq and that some asked for seat belt extensions even though a flight attendant thought they didn’t need them.
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