A Muslim activist who ran for Congress in New Jersey was arrested for refusing to get off the plane following an argument with another passenger that delayed the American Airlines flight at Newark Liberty International Airport Saturday.
Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, 28, was charged with delaying transportation and trespass, after she livestreamed the more than 15-minute ordeal that landed her in handcuffs, the New York Daily News reports.
The incident allegedly began at the security checkpoint, just before the 10 a.m. flight to Charlotte, North Carolina.
"Hey guys I'm going live right now from my flight American Airlines because this man in first class made a complaint about me," the blogger said on a Facebook livestream.
"He cut me in line at TSA and now they have police coming to escort me off this flight right now for no reason. Literally taking this man's word over mine. I don't want to leave this flight unless the other man is also leaving from this flight."
American Airlines spokesman Andrew Trull said Al-Khatahtbeh "believed the other passenger, who is enrolled in PreCheck, was getting favorable treatment because he was allowed to proceed through security while she was removing her shoes.
"This led to a verbal altercation that continued through the terminal and on the plane where Ms. Al-Khatahtbeh confronted the passenger and began filming him before taking her seat."
Once on the plane, the man told flight attendants that Al-Khatahtbeh harassed him and he "didn't feel safe," the Daily News reports, citing a source in law enforcement.
That's apparently when the blogger and activist was asked to get off. A video posted by another passenger shows Al-Khatahtbeh refusing to get off, unless the other man did, too.
That's when all of the passengers were ordered off the plan, as Al-Khatahtbeh filmed.
The incident was reportedly being investigated by the airline and Port Authority.
Al-Khatahtbeh founded MuslimGirl.com and wrote "Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age." She became the first Muslim woman to run for Congress in New Jersey this year, although she lost to Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. in the 6th District.
"I was arrested for the first time in my life because I got Ken’d," she wrote on Facebook.
"This is what it looks like to fly as a Muslim woman in America. This may have happened to me, but imagine what countless other Muslim women and minorities must endure while traveling who may not be as well versed in their rights, or might not have the right understanding of how the system works, or may not know the language. I’m lucky that I have a platform and community behind me."
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