ADC Press Release:
Lawsuit Against Continental Airlines to Proceed

Washington, DC, October 18--Today the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey has ruled against a motion by Continental Airlines to dismiss the discrimination lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Mr. Edgardo S. Cureg, and Mr. Michael Dasrath as plaintiffs.  The 34-page opinion ruled that ADC and its co-plaintiffs have legal standing in suing the airline and ordered the case to proceed, denying the airline's motion to dismiss ADC from the lawsuit.  This ruling affirms ADC's grounds to continue the lawsuit against Continental Airlines alleging discrimination.

The opinion, which maybe read at:

In its amended complaint, ADC offers a specific account of an instance of discrimination against one of its members by Continental: it states that he and another passenger of Middle-Eastern appearance were singled out for searches, and it offers allegations that could be interpreted as indication that the alleged treatment was racially motivated.  Given the generous treatment that these allegations must be accorded on a motion to dismiss, they can be construed as stating a prima facie case of discrimination against an ADC member.

The opinion further states, "The ADC has also alleged sufficiently that its members are likely to be subject to discrimination in the future. Allegations of past discriminatory conduct .... combine to support the general charge that Continental engages in a 'practice' of discrimination.  The ADC also alleges sufficiently that its members are likely to fly Continental in the future, so that they will be in a position to be victims of any discriminatory conduct."

ADC President Ziad Asali said, "ADC is pleased with today's ruling allowing the lawsuit to proceed.  At the heart of the lawsuit is discriminatory treatment and this goes against the core American values of equality under the law and nondiscrimination.  We are as committed to the security of the United States as any other American community. However, passengers who are removed from their flights, but not subjected to any further questioning or searches, has nothing to do with security. It is discrimination based on their perceived ethnicity, and, as the Department of Transportation has pointed out, this is not only immoral, it is illegal."

It should be noted that ADC did not enter into this litigation lightly, and did so only after extensive consultations. Since October 2001, ADC received and continues to receive numerous reports from Arab Americans, or those perceived to be Arab Americans, being expelled from aircraft during or after the boarding process because of their perceived ethnicity. ADC has repeatedly asked the Department of Transportation to set up a mechanism whereby the DOT, the airlines, the pilots' union and Arab-American organizations could work together to establish guidelines and safeguards that would help pilots and crews avoid acting in a discriminatory manner and which would provide all passengers with security as well a recourse in such situations.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) would like to commend Mr. Zein Moussawi, the Honorary Consul General of Lebanon, for his many years of tireless service to the community and wish him farewell as he moves on new challenges.

ADC had the privilege of working with Mr. Mousawai and is honored to be part of the Lebanese American Community's reception that will recognize his contributions and achievements on Tuesday February 26, 2002 at the Bint Jebail Cultural Center in Dearborn at 7:00 PM.

For more information, contact: Rana Abbas at (313) 581-1201



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