(CNN) A simple request for an unopened can of Diet Coke on a United Airlines flight left Tahera Ahmad in tears.
A Muslim chaplain and director of interfaith engagement at Northwestern University, Ahmad, 31, was traveling Friday from Chicago to Washington for a conference promoting dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian youth. She was wearing a headscarf, or hijab.
For hygienic reasons, she asked for an unopened can of soda, she said. The flight attendant told her that she could not give her one but then handed an unopened can of beer to a man seated nearby. Ahmad questioned the flight attendant.
“We are unauthorized to give unopened cans to people because they may use it as a weapon on the plane,” she recalled the flight attendant telling her.