Tuesday, November 28, 2006

UPDATE: Six Muslims kicked off US Airways flight

New information has come out today regarding the six Imams kicked off a US Airways flight last Monday. The original stories had stated that some of the Imams stood up on the US Airways flight and began praying. Apparently, the behavior by the six Muslims was much more suspicious.

According to the Washington Times, passengers said that at least three of the six Imams were praying very loudly in the concourse. After boarding the flight, the six took up positions similar to the 9/11 hijackers, two moved to the front row in first class, two sat in the exit rows, and two sat at the very back of the plane. These weren’t their assigned seats. This type of behavior is now believed to be a terrorist probe. With these seats, the six could now control the exits to the airplane. When they boarded, some of the Imams asked for seat belt extenders, which they didn’t need. When they got to their seat, they unrolled the extenders and placed them on the floor of the cabin. As the plane was delayed, the six would walk back and forth talking to each other, sometimes in English, and sometimes in Arabic. Passengers said that the Imams were discussing politics, criticizing the war in Iraq and President Bush.

The Imams say they spoke only in English and that they didn’t discuss politics. They also believe they are the victims of racial profiling. In the Washington Times piece, Mrs. Hudson quotes two other airline professionals not associated with US Airways as defending the airlines actions.

Last week, I posted a blog defending US Airways. With these new details, I am much more suspicious of the Imams. Beyond any shadow of a doubt, US Airways made the correct call. If you don’t think so, imagine that the worst happened. Imagine that these individuals later took control of the plane and crashed it somewhere. What would happen in the aftermath if we found that US Airways knew everything listed above, but still allowed the six to board the airplane?

I am very concerned about the behavior of these Imams. As more details come out, it looks like these Imams were intentionally trying to provoke a response at a minimum and maybe something much more nefarious at worst. These six acted in a very concerted way. I feel most rational people would agree that US Airways probably did the right thing. There are other questions we need to answer. What exactly were these six Imams up to? Were they trying to get thrown off the plane? Were they hoping to sue US Airways for discrimination and thereby make it harder for other Airlines to throw suspicious people off of their planes? Were these six actively probing US Airways for some sort of future plot? Or, were these six Imams so out of touch with today’s world that they had no idea their actions would be viewed as suspicious?

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