US airline United has faced criticism after a flight attendant refused to serve a Muslim passenger an unopened can of Diet Coke, in case she used it as a weapon to attack others on the plane.
News Limited report that the woman in question, Tahera Ahmad, was travelling to Washington to attend a conference on dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian youth when the incident occurred.
Ahmad says she ordered a Diet Coke, and after being presented with an opened can, requested an unopened one for “hygienic reasons.”
A flight attendant told her this was against policy, saying “we are unauthorised to give unopened cans to people because they may use it as a weapon on the plane.”
When Ahmad complained that the man beside her had been given an unopened beer, and asked fellow passengers if they had witnessed the incident, a man began abusing her.
“You Muslim, you need to shut the fuck up … Yes you know you would use it as a weapon so shut the fuck up,” he shouted, with the incident ultimately leaving Ahmad in tears.
“I can’t help but cry on this plane because I thought people would defend me and say something,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “Some people just shook their heads in dismay.”
United subsequently issued a statement, claiming that the incident was a “misunderstanding”, but Ahmad said that “this is not about a can of soda” and has asked for an official apology over the inconsistencies in following procedure.
The airline claims it is investigating the incident.
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