Onetime Jackson Woman Detained in W.Va. Speaks Out

By: Tony Tagliavia
By: Tony Tagliavia

"The whole incident had its basis in racial profiling," Rima Qayyum, formerly of Jackson, said in a statement.

The assessment from the 28-year-old was read Friday by Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Quayyum, who moved to West Virginia last September, was detained for hours at an airport there. She says she was trying to carry facial creams and a bottle of water onto the airliner.

"All they had to do was make me throw away these items as [was] being done to other passengers; as it is being done at all the airports in the country today," the statement read.

Instead, she was detained and interrogated as those bottles were tested. Qayyum says it's because she's Muslim.

She was cleared by the FBI and was supposed to fly out the next day. But she ended up driving back.

It wasn't immediately clear why she wasn't allowed to fly. US Airways has said the FBI wouldn't let her. Now, the family tells a different story:

"The head of operations for US Airways denied her access to the airplane," Walid said Friday.

The airline shares blame with overzealous airport security according to the statement. Now, it seems lawsuits might loom in the case.

"We are looking into possible legal recourse in this matter, not just with airport security but also with US Airways," Walid said.

Muslim leaders at the conference alleged US Airways was discriminating against Muslims, which is something the statement says isn't a problem unique to the airline. (News 10 contacted US Airways for a response; one hadn't been received at the time of this posting.)

"Neither all Muslims are terrorists nor all other people saints. Good and bad people are a part of every community in the world," Qayyum said near the end of her statement.

The Quayyum family says that's something not everyone seems to believe.


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