Imams Removed From Flight Agree to Settlement
by PAUL WALSH and JAMES WALSH, Star Tribune staff writers
Three years after six Muslim men were arrested on a US Airways jet in the Twin Cities, the "Flying Imams" have reached a legal settlement they say acknowledges they were treated improperly because of their religious and ethnic backgrounds.
Few details of the settlement filed in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis were available Tuesday, but a New York attorney for the imams, Omar Mohammedi, called the settlement "satisfactory to the plaintiffs." Mohammedi added that money is involved, but he declined to elaborate.
Another attorney for the imams, Frederick Goetz, of Minneapolis, said a few details remained to be resolved before the settlement reached Monday is completed.
Officials with the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), which operates the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and is a defendant in the suit by the imams, issued a statement Tuesday afternoon announcing the settlement.
"Law enforcement officials did what they believed was appropriate to ensure the safety of travelers based on the information available at the time," said the commission's general counsel, Tom Anderson. "We will continue to be vigilant in maintaining the security of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the safety of travelers who use it."
According to the Airports Commission statement, "the commission's liability insurance policy limits potential financial exposure in such cases to $50,000. The insurer has the right to assume control of the defense or settlement of claims and exercised that right in this case."
Arizona-based US Airways also is a defendant in the suit, but did not issue a statement Tuesday.