A group of imams booted off a US Airways flight last fall are now suing the airline.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is representing the imams, held a news conference in Washington, D.C., Tuesday to announce the filing of a discrimination lawsuit against US Airways by the six Islamic religious leaders. The imams were removed from a flight in Minneapolis last November. They say their removal from the flight was based on racism and religious intolerance.
"The Plaintiffs, well-respected, religious leaders in their community, felt degraded, humiliated and dejected as they were led before airport patrons and passengers who looked at them as if they were criminals," the lawsuit contends.
The lawsuit gave a step-by-step account of what the imams said happened on the plane, from their arrival at the airport to being questioned by the FBI at the Minneapolis police station to having issues re-booking a ticket back to Arizona.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in a federal court in Minneapolis. Three of the imams were scheduled to attend CAIR's news conference.
A statement released by US Airways says its employees "acted appropriately, and we continue to back the actions of our crew and ground employees in this case."
The company would not comment further until seeing the lawsuit.
In December, a federal source told FOX News that five of the six imams were trying to reach an out-of-court settlement with the airline.
The airline said then that it had not been notified of a lawsuit by CAIR.
“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.
The imams, who had just attended a North American Imams Federation conference, had prayed on their prayer rugs in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport before the flight, and after they boarded, a passenger passed a note to a flight attendant.
The imams 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. After consulting local police and U.S. Federal Air Marshals, they were escorted off the plane and questioned.
An internal probe by US Airways found there was no racial profiling in the imams' removal from the plane.
After the incident, CAIR advised Muslim 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.
The incident prompted the Muslim Public Affairs Council to complain to the Transportation Department, and the Homeland Security Department's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties said it would investigate.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.