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Learning English - Words in the News
07 January, 2009 - Published 13:25 GMT
Arabic T-shirt payout
A demonstrator wears a similar T-shirt at a New York protest in July 2006

In the United States lawyers for Raed Jarrar, an airline passenger forced to cover his T-shirt because it displayed an Arabic script, say he has been awarded almost a quarter of a million dollars in compensation. Rajini Vaidyanathan reports from Washington:

Listen to the story

Lawyers representing Raed Jarrar say the payout is a victory for free speech and a blow to the practice of racial profiling. Back in 2006 Mr Jarrar was waiting to board a flight at New York's JFK airport wearing a T-shirt that read "We Will Not Be Silent" in English and Arabic.

His lawyers claim he was ordered to remove the item of clothing by staff who said other passengers felt uncomfortable with the Arabic slogan. He eventually agreed to cover the shirt and boarded the plane, but says he was made to sit at the back. The Transport Security Authority and JetBlue airlines agreed to settle the case, paying out a total of $240,000 in compensation.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Mr Jarrar, argues that this case is not isolated. It follows an incident last week in the United States where a Muslim family were ordered off a domestic flight operated by AirTran airlines after passengers claimed they were making suspicious remarks about security. The group was later cleared by the FBI, but were not permitted to fly with the airline to continue their journey.

Rajini Vaidyanathan, BBC News, Washington

Listen to the words

a large sum of money paid to someone (here, as compensation)

the practice of racial profiling
forming opinions on people, or holding stereotypes of them based on their ethnic backgrounds

a short catchy phrase that reflects the ideas, principles and/or goals of someone, usually an organisation or a group of people

to settle the case
to pay the money claimed in order to stop further disagreement

argues that this case is not isolated
says this is not the only example of a similar situation/problem

ordered off
officially told to get off

here, making you feel that something wrong is happening

proved to be innocent

To take away:
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