Top Dem presses airlines on alleged anti-Muslim discrimination
The Senate's No. 2 Democrat is asking for details on what major U.S. airlines are doing to prevent anti-Muslim discrimination. 
Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats dig in ahead of Supreme Court ruling on 'Dreamers' Senate GOP braces for impeachment trial 'roller coaster' Trump judicial nominee delayed amid GOP pushback MORE (Ill.) sent a letter this week to Nicholas Calio, the president and CEO of Airlines for America, a trade organization that represents major U.S. airlines. 
Durbin wants to know what the group and its members are doing to curb future incidents after recent allegations of discrimination against American Muslims and Arab Americans. 
"Ethnic and religious discrimination strikes at the core of our nation’s commitment to equal protection for all," he wrote. "Our nation’s airlines must pay special attention to their responsibility to ensure that the civil rights of all passengers are protected." 
Durbin's letter comes after reports that a college student was removed from a flight heading from Oakland to Los Angeles earlier this month after another passenger became concerned when he made a telephone call in Arabic. 
Southwest Airlines released a statement earlier this week on the incident, saying that it "neither condones nor tolerates discrimination of any kind." 
Durbin added that the incident is the latest allegation of discrimination while aboard a U.S. airline. 
"Airlines are entrusted with enormous responsibilities to keep our skies safe while respecting the rights of all passengers," he wrote. "No airline passenger should be subject to discriminatory treatment on the basis of the passenger’s religion or ethnicity."
Durbin is asking in the letter — which was sent Wednesday but released Thursday — which airlines represented by the trade organization require diversity and nondiscrimination training. 
He also wants to know if the airlines have established procedures for passengers if they want to report alleged discrimination and how airlines investigate reported discrimination.