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US DOT Adopts ADC Recommendation

May 15, 2002- Washington, DC- Today, Legal Advisors Leila Laoudji and Kareem Shora of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) attended a meeting with representatives of the United States Department of Transportation (US DOT) Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings as well as representatives of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and other divisions and offices within the US DOT and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). During the meeting, the ADC Legal Advisors provided specific concerns over and recommendations for the use of law enforcement watch lists by airline personnel during an airline passenger’s check-in procedures. The ADC Legal Advisors also provided a data collection proposal addressing the topic and discussed other matters of concern for the Arab-American, Muslim, and civil rights communities.
During the meeting, the ADC Legal Advisors were proud to learn that the US DOT adopted an earlier recommendation made by ADC during a February, 2002, meeting between ADC President Dr. Ziad Asali, ADC Legal Advisor Kareem Shora, and representatives of the US DOT. Per ADC’s request, the US DOT initiated a new category of complaints specifically addressing alleged discrimination incidents, not related to disability, reported by individual passengers against airline personnel. The new category of “discrimination” is now, for the first time, included in the quarterly Air Travel Consumer Report issued by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings at the US DOT. The report may be viewed online at:
http://www.dot.gov/airconsumer/index1.htm
Additionally, during today’s meeting, which was also attended by representatives of the Council on American Islamic Relations and the American Civil Liberties Union, the ADC Legal Advisors raised the concerns of the Arab-American community over the allegedly continuing practice by airline personnel of removing airline passengers based on illegal and unethical use of protected categories such as a passenger’s perceived race, national origin, religion, and/or gender.
ADC commends the United States Department of Transportation for adopting ADC’s recommendation in recording incidents of alleged discrimination as a separate category in the Air Travel Consumer Report.