Social media star Adam Saleh removed from Delta plane

Delta launches review after YouTube star says he was forced off plane with a friend after speaking Arabic on the phone.

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    A still from the Saleh's video alleging he was removed from a plane after speaking Arabic [Adam Saleh/Twitter]
    A still from the Saleh's video alleging he was removed from a plane after speaking Arabic [Adam Saleh/Twitter]

    An American social media celebrity says he was removed from a New York-bound plane in London with a friend after speaking Arabic on the aircraft.

    Adam Saleh posted video of the incident on Wednesday to his Twitter feed.

    "Delta airlines kicked us out for speaking Arabic to my mom on a plane," Saleh tweeted.

    By the time of publishing, a recorded clip he posted had been shared more than 300,000 times.

    "We're getting kicked out because we spoke a different language," Adam Saleh says in the clip. "This is 2016. Delta airlines are kicking us out because we spoke a different language." 

    Addressing one his fellow passengers, he can be seen saying: "I spoke a word [of Arabic], and you said you feel uncomfortable?"

    Saleh had been due to fly from London to New York with his friend Slim Albaher. 

    Saleh said that they were later placed on another flight, having been re-checked by security.

    Saleh is a YouTube star, with more than 1.5 million subscribers. Many of his videos feature him carrying out practical jokes.

    Delta takes allegations 'seriously'

    A statement from Delta Air Lines, posted to its website, read: "Two customers were removed from this flight and later rebooked after a disturbance in the cabin resulted in more than 20 customers expressing their discomfort."

    The airline has launched a review "to understand what happened".

    "We are taking allegations of discrimination very seriously; our culture requires treating others with respect," the statement continued.

    In a final message before taking off, Saleh told his 257,000 Twitter followers that he would be visiting his lawyer when he arrives in New York, apparently over the incident that had just taken place.

    Several people have been removed from planes over the past two years.

    READ MORE: Muslims ordered off plane after ISIL accusation

    In August, Delta removed a Muslim couple travelling from Paris to Cincinnati after a member of staff complained of feeling uncomfortable with them on board.

    Also in August, British Muslim siblings were removed from an easyJet plane travelling from London to Naples after fellow passengers accused them of being members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant  group.

    In November 2015, an American Muslim cited Islamophobia after being removed from a Lufthansa plane from Newark Liberty International Airport to Istanbul for further questioning.

    Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American Relations, told Al Jazeera that the civil rights group was "reaching out to all parties" to investigate Wednesday's incident involving Saleh.

    "We're very concerned about reports of this kind. If the allegations are true, they fit a pattern of these kinds of incidents over the years," he said.

    He said "everybody just needs to use their common sense" when it comes to security.

    "Despite world events, the world is a diverse place where people speak different languages, wear different attire and look different. That's not justification for removing someone from a plane."

    Follow Anealla Safdar on Twitter: @anealla

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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