Masudur Rahman is a professor at the University of Memphis.  On Friday morning, he and a friend were headed out of Memphis on a Delta flight to Charlotte, North Carolina, to attend a conference on Islamophobia.

The idea was to represent the Islamic Association of Greater Memphis, and spend a weekend talking about discrimination against American Muslims.

But Masudur is also an imam . . . a Muslim religious leader . . . and so was his friend Mohamed.  Masudur is from India, and was wearing traditional Indian clothing, and Mohamed had on a traditional Arab outfit.  They both have beards.

They were both screened by security, again at the gate, and then allowed to board.  But when the plane started to taxi, the pilot refused to take off.  He announced that the flight was headed back to the gate, where both guys had to get off.

They were screened again, and both were cleared again.  But the pilot wouldn't let them back on, and refused to fly with them on board, even after arguing with the ground staff for over half an hour.  He was worried what the other passengers would think.

The plane eventually took off, and Delta officials put the two Muslims on a later flight to Charlotte, where they successfully attended the conference on fear of Muslims.


Here's a local Charlotte television station did this story: