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An Iraqi refugee studying at the University of California, Berkeley, says he was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight in Los Angeles this month because a passenger became alarmed while overhearing his phone conversation in Arabic.

Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, 26, told The New York Times he was awaiting departure April 6 and was speaking with an uncle in Iraq about a speech by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon that Makhzoomi attended. Makhzoomi said he wrapped up his conversation with the phrase “inshalla,” or god willing.

A nearby passenger turned and eyed him warily, then headed for the airplane door, he said.

“That is when I thought, ‘Oh, I hope she is not reporting me,'” he told the Times.

Minutes later, Makhzoomi said he was escorted off the plane by an airline employee who spoke Arabic. He told the Times he accused the employee of bias, which led to the FBI being called. He missed his flight to Oakland.

“I was pulled from the plane,” he tweeted during the incident. “Someone reported me and waiting for FBI approval.”



Article and Picture Courtesy of WKYC Channel 3 News Cleveland

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