Muslim claims airline discriminated
Shaikh Habeeb Alli
By Gerald V. Paul
Mohamed Yaffa, who travels frequently for his job as the diversity and inclusion co-ordinator at Capital Health Halifax, claims Air Canada repeatedly subjected him to “flying while Black and Muslim.”
When The Camera tried to contact him for an interview we got his answering machine but his friend, Guyana-born Shaikh Habeeb Alli, called and said he is saddened by Yaffa’s experience with the no-fly list because “it’s something that affects a lot of Muslims.”
Air Canada said it did not discriminate and was simply following American as well as Canadian aviation security requirements.
Alli, professor, author and chaplain, said, “As part of the Council of Imams, we have tried to do diversity training and look into the challenges of the security areas which is vital and critical.”
He said Yaffa’s case raises concerns about racial profiling, civil liberties and public safety. The Canadian Liberties Association has worked on it, calling the legality of the no-fly list an “important constitutional” question.
Under the Canadian Human Rights Act, it is discriminatory to “differentiate adversity in relation to any individual on a prohibited ground of discrimination.”
Yaffa’s case is not about the legality of the list, known as the Passenger Protect Program, but its application by Air Canada staff, Alli said.
Alli, author of the recently published book Blue Guava, said he understand Jaffa alleged the airline committed a discriminatory practice. “This discrimination caused damages, including depression, anxiety insomnia and diminished self-esteem.”
He stressed the need for integration in Canadian society.
“There is the need for education on diversity and a justice system based on equality and fairness,” Alli said.