NEW YORK (JTA) — A Jewish-Arab American has criticized the FBI after she was removed from an airplane on Sept. 11 and held for hours.
Shoshana Hebshi, an Ohio resident with a Saudi Arabian father and Jewish mother, told The Associated Press that a SWAT team pulled her and two Indian men from Frontier Airline flight 623 after it landed Sunday at Detroit Metro Airport.
Hebshi, a freelance writer and mother of two, wrote on her blog that she was held for hours, strip-searched and questioned before being released without charges.
Hebshi told the Detroit Free Press that she believes she was targeted because of her dark complexion. She also is in contact with the American Civil Liberties Union.
"They did seem to think that my rights were violated, even in such a sticky situation," Hebshi wrote in an e-mail, referring to the ACLU. "Understandably, security issues are heightened when dealing with airplanes, regardless of what day of the year you choose to fly."
According to Frontier Airline and the Transportation Security Authority, the three were arrested after a passenger reported "suspicious activity." None of the three knew each other.
However, airline spokesman Peter Kowalchuk in an e-mail to the AP said that both the passenger’s complaint and the alert passed on by the flight crew referred only to "the suspicious activity of two gentlemen and only two gentlemen."
"After that, what happened was out of the control of the Frontier crew," Kowalchuk said.
Hebshi on her blog asked, "What is the likelihood that two Indian men who didn’t know each other and a dark-skinned woman of Arab/Jewish heritage would be on the same flight from Denver to Detroit? Was that suspicion enough?"