On Friday morning, Masudur Rahman boarded a plane to attend a conference in North Carolina on Americans' distrust of Islam. Agents with the Transportation Security Administration had twice screened both Massud and his traveling companion Mohamed Zaghloul and determined that the two men were not a threat, and they were cleared to join all the other similarly screened passengers on the Delta regional flight operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines.
That's why it came as a shock to the pair when the staff ordered them to deplane, reportedly because the pilot didn't want them on board. An Atlantic Southeast spokesman says the airline is investigating the incident, and that the company takes "all allegations of discrimination very seriously."
Rahman and Zaghloul didn't arrive at the conference until the evening, and Rahman said he was too stressed by the experience to concentrate on the weekend's topic of "Islamophobia," or the fear of Islam.