'The Daily Show' Reminds Airlines That Arabic Is A Language, Not A Threat

"I didn't know speaking in foreign languages was against airline regulations."

Just when it seemed Islamophobia could hardly get worse in the U.S., it now appears that airlines can remove passengers from flights simply for speaking Arabic.

In Monday night's episode of "The Daily Show," host Trevor Noah and correspondent Hasan Minhaj recounted a recent incident that demonstrates just how absurd and dangerous this form of Islamophobia can be. 

Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, a 26-year-old Muslim student at UC Berkeley, was reportedly escorted off a Southwest Airlines flight on April 6 after another passenger reported him for speaking Arabic and using "jihadist language." Makhzoomi said he was chatting on the phone with his uncle in Arabic before the plane took off, and he used the term “inshallah,” which means “if God is willing” when he hung up. 

"I didn't know speaking in foreign languages was against airline regulations," Noah said in the Daily Show clip.

But it was apparently cause enough for Southwest to not only remove Makhzoomi from the flight but also hand him over to security guards and FBI officers who detained and questioned him in front of dozens of onlookers, Makhzoomi said.  

Southwest doesn't appear to have any plans to apologize to Makhzoomi, so "The Daily Show" made a parody of a pre-flight safety announcement the airline could show so Muslim passengers "can avoid terrifying their fellow travelers."

"Don't bring a bag on the flight because bags can have bombs in them," says Minhaj in the clip. The "tips" are provocative and demonstrate just how ridiculous it is to profile somehow simply for being Muslim.

Sadly, experiences like Makhzoomi's are not uncommon for Muslims and many other marginalized religions in the U.S. Perhaps a little pointed humor can demonstrate to Southwest Airlines why an apology really is in order.

Check out the clip from "The Daily Show" above.

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