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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Larry Simoneaux
Bio: Larry Simoneaux
Date:  December 10, 2006
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Topic category:  Other/General

Would you fly with thee guys??

OK, since there’s still a bit of hubbub about it, let’s open this can of worms.

Late last month, six imams were removed from an airliner in Minneapolis.

There are varying accounts of the incident, but most had the imams praying out loud before boarding the flight and repeatedly invoking the name of Allah. Then, once aboard the airliner, they moved to unassigned seats in various parts of the aircraft. Several asked for but did not use belt extenders, and others spoke loudly of their disapproval of U.S. foreign policy and the war in Iraq.

These and other activities aroused the suspicions of passengers, flight attendants, and even the pilots of the aircraft – a strikingly unflappable subset of the human race.

"Jim, what’s that glow outside your window?"

"Wing’s on fire."

"Dang."

I digress.

The authorities were called and the imams were, shortly thereafter, escorted from the plane.

As might be expected, the hue and cry then began over profiling, discrimination, and the ultimate indignity in today’s P.C. world – "offending" someone.

Spare me.

I’d like to offer that, separately, none of the above behaviors would likely have set off any alarms in the minds of either the passengers or the crew. Taken together, however, they started another train of thought entirely. That would be the one wherein - if you were on board that plane - you began asking yourself: "Geez. Do I really want to be here?"

And, if anyone wonders why, think back to September 11, 2001. On that day, four airliners were hijacked shortly after takeoff. Those planes never made it to their destinations. Instead, they were crashed into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and a remote field in rural Pennsylvania.

Not something most travelers want to see duplicated. So let’s open the can a bit further.

Lately, whenever you hear a news bulletin regarding bombings, beheadings, hijackings, and not very nice murders that have taken place, what religious group - rightly or wrongly, fairly or unfairly - comes to mind?

Southern Baptists?

No.

Roman Catholics? Lutherans, Presbyterians, Jews, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists? Buddhists?

Still, no.

So, where does the mind settle?

Right.

Does this mean that the followers of Islam are all fanatics, that theirs is a religion devoid of compassion and benevolence, or that all Muslims are terrorists?

Not by a long shot.

Unfortunately, however, these days a pretty good argument can be made that most terrorists sure seem to be Muslim.

Which brings us to the imams on that plane.

Each day in the United States, there are thousands of domestic flights taking place with hundreds of thousands of people on board. Each day, therefore, it’s likely that there are a goodly number of Muslims flying.

Since those thousands of flights go off without a lot of fuss and commotion, one can conclude that those self-same Muslims set off no mental alarms in the rest of the passengers or crew. They are simply seen as ordinary individuals trying - like the rest of us - to endure the discomfort of modern-day travel and wanting nothing more than to get where they’re going. Hence, we’re not treated to a daily spectacle of Muslims being led off of airliners.

Further, given the fact that, in today’s world, toothpaste, shampoo, and hand cream have become suspicious items and wheelchair-bound grannies are often the subject of intense scrutiny, I’d offer that the removal of these men had nothing at all to do with profiling, discrimination, or the desire to embarrass anyone.

Rather, since 9/11, there’s arisen in rational human beings an almost universal desire to avoid becoming part of a lethal kinetic energy equation. Thus, I think we can say that these men were removed because of their behavior – and that’s precisely what should have happened.

So, for better or for worse, until the fanatics who’ve hijacked an entire religion are all packed off to the hell they so richly deserve and many a traveler’s fear of becoming one with a skyscraper passes, passenger safety and airline security are going to trump "being offended" each and every time.

And if that causes a group of imams who seemed particularly intent on making a scene to be removed from an airliner, so be it.

In short, guys:

Welcome to the world of post 9/11 travel.

Brought to you by none other than the fundamentalist loons who slaughter in the name of religion.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Larry Simoneaux

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Biography - Larry Simoneaux

Larry Simoneaux is a regular columnist for The Everett Herald in Washington state. He is a retired ship driver for the US Navy and NOAA.


Read other commentaries by Larry Simoneaux.

Copyright © 2006 by Larry Simoneaux
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