Air traveler says guilty of yanking Muslim's scarf

May 14, 2016 01:06

A North Carolina man admitted on Friday that he ripped off a Muslim woman's head scarf during a flight to New Mexico last December after saying, "Take it off! This is America!"

Gill Payne, 37, pleaded guilty in the US District Court in New Mexico to one count of using force to intentionally obstruct the woman from freely exercising her religious beliefs, prosecutors said.

"No matter one's faith, all Americans are entitled to peacefully exercise their religious beliefs free from discrimination and violence," said Vanita Gupta, head of the US Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

An attorney for Payne did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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