Two more imams kept off flights to Charlotte

Two more Muslim clergy — a father and son from New York — have hired a Charlotte, N.C., attorney after one of them was removed from a Charlotte-bound flight and the other was never permitted to board at all.

Both Imam Al Amin Abdul Latif, 61, a South Carolina native, and his son, Imam Abu Bakr Abdul Latif, 35, were trying to get to Charlotte last weekend for a conference on "Islamophobia," or fear of Islam.

Their Charlotte attorney, Mo Idlibi, is also representing two Memphis imams who were removed from another flight on their way to the same conference.

On Monday, Idlibi said he plans to press American Airlines for answers about the alleged discrimination against the New York-based imams, who are African-American.

He said the Latifs were both cleared by the Transportation Security Administration to board American Airlines Flight 4584 - a Friday night flight from New York's LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. Then, Idlibi said, American Airlines removed the son from the Charlotte flight and denied the father a seat Friday night and again Saturday morning.

The younger Latif did get on a Saturday flight to Charlotte, but his father ended up driving to Charlotte.

"These Muslim clergy members respect the law, but they also want to be treated with dignity and respect, just like all American citizens," Idlibi told reporters at a Monday news conference at the Charlotte airport. "They have rights and they are going to assert those rights."

Neither imam attended the news conference. But Al Amin Abdul Latif - the father - told the Observer on Sunday he was born in Anderson, S.C., and has been an imam for 25 years. He is the imam at a mosque in Brooklyn, N.Y., and is president of the Islamic Leadership Council of New York.

He was also one of the speakers at the Charlotte conference - a meeting of imams from North America - that focused on discrimination against members of their faith.

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