- A woman accused of assaulting a Muslim woman on a Spirit flight was arrested in Detroit.
- The woman is accused of calling a Black woman a “Muslim terrorist” and hitting her.
- A civil rights group is calling on local authorities to bring hate crime charges against the woman.
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A Muslim civil rights group is calling for hate crime charges to be brought against a woman accused of verbally berating and physically assaulting an African-American Muslim woman during a September 11 Spirit flight from Atlanta to Detroit.
The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), is urging Wayne County authorities to charge a white woman accused of unleashing an Islamophobic rant against a fellow passenger with a hate crime under the state’s Ethnic Intimidation Statute, the advocacy group said in a press release.
“On September 11, Aicha Toure, was traveling on Spirit Airlines flight 3807 from Atlanta to Detroit when a white woman whom she did not know boarded the plane acting belligerently,” CAIR said in a statement.
According to the organization, Toure is a “visibly Muslim” woman who wears an Islamic head scarf.
During the flight, CAIR said the belligerent woman began fighting with minority crew members. Once the plane landed, the woman reportedly started harassing and intimidating an older woman who appeared to be of South Asian descent. When Toure asked the woman to stop cursing at the older woman, she responded by calling Toure a “Muslim terrorist” and unloading a slew of profanities, according to CAIR.
“When the white woman realized Toure, and others were recording her Islamophobic comments, she allegedly struck Toure with her fist before crew members of Spirit were able to intervene,” the group said.
Wayne County Airport Authority police confirmed to the Detroit Free Press that the woman was arrested following the incident and cited for assault and disorderly conduct.
“It appears there was a misunderstanding between two women,” authorities told the outlet. “A third woman intervened in an effort to help. The third woman was assaulted.”
Spirit officials confirmed to The Detroit News that a passenger on the flight “chose to use appalling language” toward another flier.
“That kind of language has no place on our planes – or anywhere else – and she is no longer welcome on any of our flights,” the airline told the outlet.
The incident occured on the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
“The alleged actions of this individual are reprehensible and she clearly targeted religious and racial minorities for her violent words and actions,” CAIR Michigan Staff Attorney Amy V. Doukoure said. “Michigan’s Ethnic intimidation law was created to protect people like Ms. Toure from being assaulted after being called a Muslim terrorist while traveling on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.”
“It is imperative that Wayne County Prosecutor’s office take this hate crime seriously and ensure that Muslims are safe from hate and violence in all aspects of their life,” she added.