Imams Removed From US Airways Flight Drop Passengers From Lawsuit

The six Muslim leaders who were removed from a US Airways flight last fall after passengers thought they were acting suspiciously will not include those passengers in their lawsuit against the airline and police, an attorney for the imams said Wednesday.

A motion to amend the complaint to include the names of airline employees and police officers was entered Tuesday in U.S. District Court, attorney Frederick Goetz said.

"We've identified the people we think are responsible," he said. No passengers were named.

The imams, who were handcuffed and questioned, say the airline discriminated against them and violated their civil rights during the November incident at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

A passenger raised concerns about the imams through a note passed to a flight attendant. Witnesses also said the imams made anti-American comments about the war in Iraq

The imams have said three of the men said their evening prayers in the airport terminal before boarding the plane, and that they entered the plane separately, except for one member who is blind and needed a guide. The men did not sit together.

The original decision to include passengers in the lawsuit led to concerns that people would be reluctant to report suspicious behavior for fear they would be sued. But last week, lawmakers in the U.S. Congress reached a deal on a homeland security bill to include language that would give immunity from lawsuits to people who report suspicious behavior.

The bill was crafted in response to the imams' case.

An attorney for the imams has said the lawsuit's intent was not to go after passengers who raise valid security concerns.

Goetz said the amended complaint had "absolutely nothing to do" with the action in Congress.