Mich. man says he was kicked off bus for speaking Arabic
A Michigan Muslim man alleges he was kicked off a Greyhound bus last summer for talking on his phone in Arabic, an advocacy group reported Wednesday.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations Michigan chapter has filed a complaint with the state Department of Civil Rights claiming the company discriminated against Abrahaim Mohamed.
The 23-year-old, who bought a ticket June 26 to travel from Detroit to Akron, Ohio, to visit relatives, was barred from returning to his seat after a brief stop in Toledo, CAIR-MI staff attorney Amy Doukoure said. The driver told Mohamed “he was not allowed to re-enter because she had heard him speaking Arabic on his cell phone,” according to the complaint.
Mohamed asserts that several other passengers also were using their phones but allowed to continue their trip. He also claims Greyhound staff at the Toledo station “told him that it was in fact not the policy … to remove people from the bus simply for speaking on their phone,” the complaint stated.
Though Mohamed bought another ticket for a later bus and had a voucher, he still faced “substantial embarrassment, inconvenience and delay,” the attorney said.
"Companies like Greyhound that provide a service open to the public have a duty to ensure that all of their customers are safe from racism and anti-Muslim bigotry at the hands of their employees,” Doukoure said. "American Muslims should feel free to go about their day-to-day lives without having to worry that they will be discriminated against simply for speaking to their loved ones in a language other than English."
Greyhound representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday night.
CAIR-MI officials said they contacted the company to discuss the matter but received no response, prompting the civil rights complaint.
Doukoure said: "We’re just looking to make sure this doesn't happen again."
The complaint comes after a recent CAIR report found anti-Muslim bias incidents and hate crimes reported in April, May and June rose 83 and 21 percent, respectively, compared to the first quarter of 2018.
Last week, the Michigan chapter announced a complaint filed with the state Civil Rights Department on behalf of a Muslim woman who claimed she was ejected from an Ann Arbor cell phone store after a customer verbally attacked her because of her faith.
“Muslims are being excluded from public accommodation when they’re just trying to go about their daily lives,” Doukoure said.