Tuesday, November 21, 2006

This is just embarrassing
I really hate sharing a nationality with easily panicked cry-babies and those who shame our national values to accommodate them.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations called Tuesday for an investigation into the behavior of airline staff and airport security in the removal of six Muslim scholars from a US Airways flight a day earlier.

A passenger raised concerns about the imams — three of whom said their normal evening prayers in the airport terminal before boarding the Phoenix-bound plane, according to one — through a note passed to a flight attendant, according to Andrea Rader, a spokeswoman for US Airways.


The six were returning from a conference in Minneapolis of the North American Imams Federation, said Omar Shahin of Phoenix, president of the group.


Police were called after the captain and airport security workers asked the men to leave the plane and the men refused, Rader said.

Shahin said no one asked the six to leave until police arrived, when the group complied.

The other passengers on the flight, which was carrying 141 passengers and five crew members, were re-screened for boarding, Rader said. The plane took off about three hours after the men were removed.

Shahin said the group spent the night at the home of a local imam.

When Shahin went back to the airport Tuesday morning, a ticketing agent told him his payment for Monday’s flight had been refunded and the airline wouldn’t sell more tickets to him or the other imams.

To sum up: one passenger saw a group of Muslim men praying before boarding the flight and went into a panic. In response, rather than offering to get that passenger a seat on another flight, US Airways ordered all Muslim men on the plane to leave, called the police when they objected, and banned them from flying on the airline again. The race or religion of the panicked passenger was not given in the story.

Is it the business policy of US Airways to let the most fearful passenger decide who gets to ride on a plane? If I saw three white men with crew cuts praying before boarding a plane and decided they must be insane militia members, would US Airways order all short-haired white men off the plane to make me more comfortable, or would they tell me to get over it or take a different flight? I'm sure the Michelle Malkins of the world will praise US Airways for their cautious and prudent action. After all, "those people" have a history of blowing up buildings full of people. But then so do white guys with crew cuts.

We have long since passed the point where our suspicion and fearfulness are a national embarrassment. We're driving away travelers, who don't want to deal with our rude and suspicious ways. We're driving away students, who find it harder to get a visa. We're building a wall on our border and banning all signs of foreignness. This can't go on. This sort of behavior is going to start seriously damaging our economy ass other countries find ways to do without the United States.

Xenophobia and cowardice are more than a financial liability; they're a blot on our national honor. This kind of behavior is something we should have outgrown generations ago. It's unworthy of us.

No comments: