The Flying Circus

by Steve on December 6, 2006

The initial write-ups concerning US Airways’ treatment of “The Flying Imams” were slanted in such a way that the reader was led to believe that there had been a grievous violation of the imams’ civil liberties. Now that additional details are being published a very different story is emerging. For those of you unaware of the incident, Debra Burlingame’s article in the WSJ sums it up quite nicely (do read the whole thing):

Initial media reports of the incident did not include the disturbing details about what happened after they boarded US Airways flight 300, but the story quickly went national with provocative headlines: “Six Muslims Ejected from US Air Flight for Praying.” Yes, they were praying–but let’s be clear about this. The very last human sound on the cockpit voice recorder of United flight 93 before it screamed into the ground at 580 miles per hour is the sound of male voices shouting “Allahu Akbar” in a moment of religious ecstasy.

“Allahu Akbar” was just the opening act. After boarding, they did not take their assigned seats but dispersed to seats in the first row of first class, in the midcabin exit rows and in the rear–the exact configuration of the 9/11 execution teams. The head of the group, seated closest to the cockpit, and two others asked for a seatbelt extension, kept on board for obese people. A heavy metal buckle at the end of a long strap, it can easily be used as a lethal weapon. The three men rolled them up and placed them on the floor under their seats. And lest this entire incident be written off as simple cultural ignorance, a frightened Arabic-speaking passenger pulled aside a crew member and translated the imams’ suspicious conversations, which included angry denunciations of Americans, furious grumblings about U.S. foreign policy, Osama Bin Laden and “killing Saddam.”

After hearing and witnessing such behavior I know I would have been off that plane had the captain not taken action. Of course the Muslim American Society (MAS) and Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) are now suing on behalf of the imams and pushing for new legislation to restrict the airlines’ ability to protect their passengers. The word “staged” comes to mind. The US Airways crew either thwarted a hijacking or played right into a conspiracy designed to weaken the system we’ve worked so hard to establish in the wake of 9/11. Muslim groups such as MAS and CAIR continually push for concessions that erode the foundation of our society. Any resistance to their demands immediately results in religious discrimination lawsuits. No other group in our history has so successfully manipulated the system. As for the imams’ civil rights, once they boarded that jet they passed into another jurisdiction: that of the Captain. As the pilot-in-command he had the ultimate responsibility and total authority to take whatever action he deemed necessary to secure the safety of all persons on board. As Burlingame reminds us:

Here’s what the flying public needs to know about airplanes and civil rights: Once your foot traverses the entranceway of a commercial airliner, you are no longer in a democracy in which everyone gets a vote and minority rights are affirmatively protected in furtherance of fuzzy, ever-shifting social policy. Ultimately, the responsibility for your personal safety and security rests on the shoulders of one person, the pilot in command. His primary job is to safely transport you and your belongings from one place to another. Period.

We are being played here and I for one don’t feel inclined to take on the part of the fool so that the rights of six idiots are not trampled. If you behave in an irresponsible manner you must accept the consequences. The crew and law enforcement reacted appropriately and should be applauded. No apologies necessary, no punitive awards deserved.

Lex, as he so often does, extends an olive branch dripping with well-earned sarcasm:

Tell you what – In the spirit of interfaith dialogue and Grand Compromise, let us strike a bargain: You fellers convince your co-religionists to stop celebrating throat-slitting butchery on internet videos, blowing up school buses and buildings around the world, engaging in orgiastic bouts of mass murder by IED and torture and above all, flying airplanes full of innocents into buildings full of innocents while shouting out the shahada, and we’ll let all of those ethnocentric profiling bygones be bygones. Deal?

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