Detroit Free Press
A woman was charged Friday with racially taunting and attacking a Muslim woman passenger aboard a Spirit Airlines flight on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, allegedly calling the traveler a “Muslim terrorist” and physically attacking her.
The alleged behavior triggered ethnic intimidation and assault charges against 39-year-old Alexandra Lynn Farr, who is accused of attacking and shouting racial slurs at the 29-year-old African American Muslim passenger who had just landed at Detroit Metro Airport from Atlanta, Georgia.
According to prosecutors and a civil rights group, the victim was attacked while trying to intervene in an argument between Farr and an older woman who looked to be of South Asian descent.
“The alleged activity of this defendant was completely inappropriate and quickly elevated to criminal activity,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in announcing the charges. “Racist rants have become far more common lately and we will not hesitate to take action when we can do so legally.”
According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations Michigan chapter, the attack happened after an older traveler’s luggage slipped out of her grip and struck Farr, who allegedly became irate and started yelling.
That’s when traveler Aicha Touré tried to intervene, but wound up getting verbally and physically assaulted by Farr.
“She called me a lot of derogative names. She cussed my entire family out … she went off in an entire rant,” Touré told Local 4 news.
According to CAIR, Touré was traveling on Spirit Airlines flight 3807 from Atlanta to Detroit on Sept. 11 when Farr boarded the plane acting belligerently. During the flight, CAIR alleges, Farr allegedly initiated altercations with minority crew members on the flight.
It was upon landing in Detroit when the alleged yelling match and attack happened.
According to CAIR, when the Macomb County woman realized Touré and others were recording her Islamophobic comments, she struck Touré with her fist before crew members intervened and airport police were summoned.
Police responded to the scene and arrested Farr, who is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in 34th District Court on one count of ethnic Intimidation, a two-year high misdemeanor; one count of assault and battery, and one count of disorderly person, both 93-day misdemeanors.
CAIR applauded the charges.
“CAIR-MI is pleased that the prosecutor’s office has taken the alleged targeting of Muslims in Detroit for violent Islamophobic attacks seriously,” CAIR staff attorney Amy Doukoure said in a statement, adding the charges send “a strong signal to Michigan’s Muslim community that hatred and intolerance against them is unacceptable and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Farr could not be reached for comment.