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Sunday, December 03, 2006


That's pretty much my reaction after reading this article.
Airport officials said Friday they will consider setting aside a private area for prayer and meditation at the request of imams concerned about the removal of six Muslim clerics from a US Airways flight last week. Steve Wareham, director of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, said other airports have "meditation rooms" used for prayers or by passengers who simply need quiet time.
Later in this article, it's pointed out that several airports have chapel areas so this wouldn't be precedent. This article serves a different purpose for the imams, though. Here's what I think it is. I think the imams want us to pretend that this is the solution to what I affectionately call the 'Flying Imam Fiasco'.

The imams keep telling America that they were kicked off US Airways flight 300 in Minneapolis simply for praying. Thanks to Richard Miniter's article, we now know that that isn't true. We now know that there is much more to their getting removed from that flight than the imams have talked about. Here's some key information that the imams haven't talked about:
  • An Arabic speaker was seated near two of the imams in the plane's tail. That passenger pulled a flight attendant aside and, in a whisper, translated what the men were saying: invoking "bin Laden" and condemning America for "killing Saddam," according to police reports.
  • All six imams had boarded together, with the first-class passengers, even though only one of them had a first-class ticket. Three had one-way tickets. Between the six men, only one had checked a bag.
  • And, Pauline said, they spread out, just like the 9/11 hijackers. Two sat in first class, two in the middle and two back in the economy section, police reports show. Some, according to Rader, took seats not assigned to them.
  • One more odd thing went unnoticed at the time: The men prayed both at the gate and on the plane. Yet observant Muslims pray only once at sundown, not twice.
I think Miniter's source, a woman he simply calls Pauline, got it right when she said "It was almost as if they were intentionally trying to get kicked off the flight." Pauline said.

Forgive me for being cynical but I strongly believe that that was the imams' intent. I believe that because of this information:
Two days earlier, Ellison, an African-American convert who wants to criminalize Muslim profiling, spoke at a fundraiser for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim-rights group that wasted no time condemning US Airways for "prejudice and ignorance." CAIR wants congressional hearings to investigate other incidents of "flying while Muslim." Incoming Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, (D-MI), has already drafted a resolution, borrowing from CAIR rhetoric, that gives Muslims special civil-rights protections.
Logically thinking people might connect a few dots and come to the conclusion that the imams' goal was to get Congress to investigate this incident with the intent of stigmatizing US Airways as Islamophobic. Congressional hearings on the subject would be a shot across the bow to other airlines, essentially telling them they shouldn't react like US Airways reacted.

Logically thinking people might also conclude that John Conyers can't wait to hold these hearings, especially if they knew that he's carried CAIR's water for some time.
Working with Conyers, the Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, Democrats have introduced legislation to end racial profiling, limit the reach of the Patriot Act, and make immigration safe and accessible. Leader Pelosi is a proud cosponsor of the End Racial Profiling Act, the Security and Freedom Ensured Act (SAFE), and the Safe, Orderly, and Legal Visas Enforcement Act (SOLVE).
This information was posted on CAIR's website and dated July 15, 2004. In other words, Democrats and CAIR have been trying for quite some time to end profiling even if it's a useful tool in preventing terrorist attacks.

It's time conscientious Americans asked Democrats and CAIR if they want to "limit the reach of the Patriot Act" so much that we can't protect ourselves from terrorist attacks. It's time for conscientious Americans asked Democrats and CAIR if they're more worried about perceived civil liberties abuses than they care about preventing terrorist attacks. Let's remember that, during the time they debated the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, they couldn't cite a specific instance of a person's civil rights being abused.

To give "Muslims special civil-rights protections" is a classic case of fixing what really isn't broken.

Doesn't this lead us to the point where conscientious Americans ask Democrats like Conyers and CAIR what their priorities are? Of course, they'll deny with their words that their legislation will weaken airport security. Their problem is that their words would be meaningless once Mr. Conyers' resolution is debated. Their words would further be diminished when Mr. Conyers' legislation is introduced.

It's time that we told the imams that we take airport security seriously and that we won't be intimidated by people seeking unwarranted, and potentially dangerous, special privileges. We should tell them that we'll keep doing what we've been doing to keep air travel safe.

We should tell them that we'll do that whether Minneapolis International Airport gets a prayer room or not.

Cross-posted at LetFreedomRingBlog


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