United Airlines faces online 'islamophobic' backlash after denying Muslim passenger an unopened can of Diet Coke

United Airlines is under attack online from people who claim it is “islamophobic” after a Muslim woman claimed she was discriminated by a flight attendant who refused to give her an unopened can of Diet Coke.

People have leapt to the defence of Tahera Ahmad, who posted on Facebook that she was the subjected to racism by the brand.

The post claims that a flight attendant said she could not have an unopened can of the popular drink due to the airline’s safety policies but then proceeded to give another passenger an unopened can of beer. Ahmad, who wears a headscarf as part of her religion, said the attendant then quickly grabbed the beer after she was challenged. Appalled at the behaviour, Ahmad then writes how she asked passengers around her if they had seen what had just happened only to be told by one to “shut the f*** up”.

The account was closed with the #IslamphobiaISREAL hashtag, which in turn inspired Ahmad‘s supporters to create the #unitedfortahera hashtag. Some of those supporters have vowed not to use United Airlines until it has apologised for what they have lambasted as “pathetic”, “bigotry” and “disgusting discrimination”.

United Airlines has issued a statement and has already reached out to Ahmad to see how it can resolve the incident. It reads: "United is a company that strongly supports diversity and inclusion, and we and our partners do not discriminate against our employees or customers. We are reaching out directly to Ms. Ahmad to get a better understanding of what occurred during the flight.

“We are also discussing the matter that Ms. Ahmad describes with Shuttle America, our regional partner that operated the flight. We look forward to speaking with Ms. Ahmad and hope to have the opportunity to welcome her back."

According to reports, Ahmad has been invited to a Ramadan meal by US president Barack Obama and has previously been honoured at the White House for her work in the Muslim community.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.