Page last updated at 17:51 GMT, Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Payout for Arabic shirt passenger

By Rajini Vaidyanathan
BBC News, Washington

A Jetblue plane
Jetblue settled with Mr Jarrar out of court

An air passenger forced to cover his T-shirt because it displayed Arabic script has been awarded a payout of $240,000 (163,000), his lawyers say.

Two Transportation Security Authority officials and JetBlue Airways will be forced to make the payout.

Raed Jarrar, a US resident, had accused them of illegally discriminating against him based on his ethnicity and the Arabic writing on his T-shirt.

The payout is the largest of its kind since the 9/11 terror attacks.

Lawyers representing Mr Jarrar say the settlement is a victory for free speech and a blow to the practice of racial profiling.


Back in 2006, Mr Jarrar was waiting to board a flight at New York's JFK airport wearing a T-shirt that read "We Will Not Be Silent" in English and Arabic.

His lawyers say he was ordered to remove the item of clothing by staff who said other passengers felt uncomfortable with the Arabic slogan.

He eventually agreed to cover the shirt and boarded the plane, but says he was made to sit at the back of the plane.

The Transport Security Authority and JetBlue airlines agreed to settle the case, paying out a total of $240,000 in compensation.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which represented Mr Jarrar, argues this case is not an isolated one.

Last week, a Muslim family was ordered off a domestic US flight operated by AirTran airlines after passengers claimed they were making suspicious remarks about security.

The family members were later cleared by the FBI, but were not permitted to fly with the airline to continue their journey.

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