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Airline complaints to be investigated

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The Utah Attorney General's Office is investigating a situation in which three Arab Americans from Utah said they were bounced from a Northwest Airlines flight from Minneapolis to Salt Lake City last week.

The Utah men, Kareem Alasady, his brother, Akram, and a friend eventually flew home on a Delta Air Lines flight on Sept. 20, the same day they had tickets to return on Northwest Flight 673.

The men said they felt discriminated against.

"The security checks, I understand. But there's no reason to be ejected. I'm an American citizen," Kareem Alasady told the Deseret News.

"We are looking into it," said Paul Murphy, director of communications for the Attorney General's Office. "We hope to have some more information in the next few days about what approach we plan to take about this.

"We're looking to see whether or not their civil rights were violated," Murphy said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a directive to airlines to be careful and reminding them that it is illegal to target Arab Americans, Muslims and Sikhs.

There have been reports of delays, questioning and denied travel service for Arab Americans at various airports nationwide since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

The men said they had been questioned for some time by authorities in Minneapolis before being allowed to leave. The men originally left Philadelphia and had a layover in Minneapolis.

In response to the state's investigation, Northwest Airlines reissued its statement from Friday expressing regret for "any misunderstandings" and saying it was conducting its own investigation into the incident.