Five of the six imams who were removed from a US Airways flight in Minnesota last month are trying to reach an out-of-court settlement with the airline, a federal source has confirmed to FOX News.
But the airline said Wednesday it has not been notified of a lawsuit by the Council of Islamic-American Relations, the group representing the five imams.
“We haven’t sat down and looked these guys in the eyes. We have no idea on what grounds, what they’re seeking. We have not yet sat across the table from CAIR,” US Airways spokeswoman Andrea Rader told FOXNews.com. The airline issued a statement saying a meeting had not been set up yet.
A CAIR spokesperson told FOX News that the imams were seeking "some kind of resolution."
The imams, who had just attended a North American Imams Federation conference, were asked the leave the plane after several passengers saw suspicious behavior, including asking for seat-belt extenders, making critical comments of the United States in Arabic and sitting in pairs throughout the cabin in unassigned seats.
An internal probe by US Airways found there was no racial profiling in the imams' removal from the plane.
"We back the actions of the crew," Rader told FOX News.com.
CAIR also announced this week that it established a hotline to advise Muslims traveling during the holiday season to protect their civil rights, and is encouraging people to report if they feel they've been discriminated against.
In a press release, the group says it wants to protect Muslims from discrimination for "flying while Muslim," and then advised travelers to take down the names of employees who they feel are treating them unfairly, and ask to speak to a manager. Passengers should then call CAIR's hotline and report the incident, the Council said.
Original reports of the incident said six imams who were in Minnesota to attend an annual conference were escorted off the flight after conducting their ritual evening prayers.
However, a police report, first obtained by the blog Pajamasmedia.com, later showed that the imams had requested seatbelt extensions despite not being obese, sat in seats spread throughout the plane that were not assigned to them, and were heard criticizing the United States.
Passengers alerted the flight staff to their behavior, and after consulting local police and U.S. Federal Air Marshals, the decision was made to escort them off the plane.
Imam Omar Shahin, president of the North American Imams Federation, which hosted the conference in Minnesota, was one of the imams detained and later questioned.
The imams 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 whole ordeal 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 investigations found the airlines had unlawfully removed passengers because of perceived ethnic or religious backgrounds.
FOX News' Catherine Herridge and Cassie Carothers and the Associated Press contributed to this report.