Six imams were kicked off a US Airways flight last week in Minneapolis for committing several acts of suspicious behavior, not just because they said their evening prayers before boarding the plane, a police report shows, contradicting earlier media reports.
US Airways manager Robby Taylor Davis told police three of the six imams had one-way only tickets and only one passenger checked luggage. He also said in the police report that most of the six requested seat-belt extensions typically used by obese people despite being thin.
Also, a passenger on the plane who speaks Arabic heard the group mention Saddam Hussein and criticize the United States' involvement in Iraq. The passenger, whose named was redacted from the police report, said he saw two of the men take seats in the front of the plane, two take seats in the middle, and two more in the back.
Minneapolis police, along with U.S. Federal Air Marshals, decided the collective behavior of the group was suspicious enough to detain the men and question them.
Earlier reports only said the group had been seen praying loudly before the flight, and the group was removed after a passenger passed a note to a flight attendant bringing attention to the group, and did not include details on the other suspicious behavior of the imams.
The imams, who were returning from a religious conference, were detained and questioned before being released shortly thereafter.
"Pauline," a passenger on the flight who didn't want to give her real name for fear of her safety, said she thought the it was a stunt to garner media attention.
"They were so poised and ready to go to the press. By the time I arrived home from the airport ... they were already announcing on the news that they were being discriminated against," Pauline said on FOX News' Hannity and Colmes.
In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, four airlines accused of breaking federal anti-discrimination laws settled with the government. Transportation Department investigations found the airlines had unlawfully removed passengers because of perceived ethnic or religious backgrounds.
The Transportation Department received a complaint about the US Airways incident on Monday from the Muslim Public Affairs Council, said spokesman Brian Turmail.
"We're going to now look into the matter," Turmail said.
The Homeland Security Department's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties said last week that it was investigating the incident.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.