State News

Man gets probation for grabbing woman's headscarf on flight

Posted 2:59 p.m. Tuesday
Updated 3:00 p.m. Tuesday

— A North Carolina man who acknowledged grabbing and pulling off a Muslim woman's hijab on a flight from Chicago to Albuquerque, New Mexico, has been sentenced to a year of probation that includes two months of home confinement.

Federal prosecutors say 37-year-old Gill Parker Payne of Gastonia also was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.

Payne pleaded guilty in May to a misdemeanor charge of obstructing a person's free exercise of religious beliefs in connection with the Dec. 11 incident on a Southwest Airlines flight.

In his plea agreement, Payne said he grabbed and removed Khawla Abdel-Haq's hijab, a religious headscarf, midflight. He was seated several rows behind her and did not know her.

Abdel-Haq told Judge Steven Yarbrough that she was afraid to leave her home for three weeks.


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