Friday, December 15, 2006

Imams Treatment Discrimination?

The righteous indignation of the six imams tossed off a plane a while back seems just a little to righteous, don’t you think? The skeptic in me came to full alert over this incident.

Witnesses said the men prayed in the terminal and made critical comments about the Iraq war, mentioned Osama bin Laden, and three of the men had only one-way tickets and no checked baggage. On the plane, they sat separately, not together as you might expect from people traveling together. They all stood up to pray at the same time. An airport police officer and a federal air marshal agreed that the combination of circumstances was suspicious, and eventually asked the men to leave the airplane, a police report said.

Now, ask yourself: What are the chances that all of this could have been happenstance? I say: Slim-to-none.

Then, ask: Why would a group of Muslim holy men behave in such an attention-attracting manner?

A Muslim in America that didn’t want to freak anyone out probably would not say prayers in public; make a point not to sit with fellow travelers; talk about Osama bin Laden and do other overt things that would call negative attention to himself and raise suspicions of people who suffered a great loss at the hand of people like him.

So naturally, that’s what these guys did. And, afterward they summoned up all the righteous indignation they could muster to complain that they had been targeted, that they are victims of discrimination.

My take: These guys knew exactly what they were doing. They knew how passengers and observers would react to their deliberate and provocative attempts to attract attention. And I believe they knew there was a strong chance they would be removed from the plane.

However, to what end did they stage this confrontational performance? Was it so that they could file a lawsuit and get a fat award to line their pockets and exact financial damage on the airline industry, or perhaps to petition for laws against profiling?


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