The bad news is that a planeful of passengers had to stay in San Diego overnight.
Judging from what's in the news, American Airlines Flight 590 was carrying six guys who had been training Iraq-bound Marines. A woman with her two kids was also on the plane.
She apparently heard them speaking Arabic, and reported her concerns to airport security. The security officers told her that they weren't suspicious, and let them board. After hearing them "clunking around" in the airplane's restroom, the woman and her kids left the plane.
The International Herald reports that "Airline spokesman Tim Wagner said earlier this week only that the 'incident' that began in the departure lounge had been ongoing and the flight crew felt it needed to be resolved on the ground."
Between airport security and local law enforcement, the snafu was resolved. But by that time the airport's outgoing-flight services were shut down.
What had started as a red eye flight became an overnight stay for the passengers and crew of Flight 590.
The woman with the kids said, "I do feel very bad but I was just protecting my tiny little family," to The San Diego Union-Tribune on Friday. "All I could think of was 9/11."
One of six "Iraqis" questioned is David Al Watan, 30, of Dearborn, Michigan. He says he's embarrassed, and had no idea there was a problem until the plane returned to the to the terminal. "Everyone who didn't look like us went off and did whatever they wanted," said Al Watan, who apparently fled Iraq in 1991 and is now a U.S. citizen. He says he loves his adopted country. "I would die for it," he told a newspaper.
The group now has a lawyer, who says they want an apology from the airline.
"They can't just assume someone has a bomb strapped to them just because they are Arabic," the group's attorney said.
Sounds reasonable to me.
This foul-up was discussed on FreeRepublic.com. the Free Republic post was reasonable enough. Some of the comments were, in my opinion, not:
- "After 9/11, who doesn't know that Americans have a problem with sharing a plane flight with a group of Arabic-speaking Middle Eastern types. Prejudice? You bet, but in deference to our national painful memories, they should have shown far more tact if they were Iraqis Americans."
- "sounds like cair fear.
"one passenger reported an issue so they removed that passenger and then when they left they had a unrelated mechanical issue."
(I have not found reference to a "mechanical issue" in published reports. The poster may be referring to remarks by Irene McCormack, a spokeswoman for the San Diego Harbor Police, who said that planes returning to the gate is unusual, and that returns are usually for medical or mechanical problems, or a disturbance. (cbs2chicago.com))
- "Iraqi Americans?
The subtle injection of race-by association by the reporter seems to have escaped everyone.
"What the hell is an Iraqi-American? If they are muslims, that is a useless meaningless phrase.
"They were muslims being their usual stupid, arrogant, self-important selves."
I can understand Mr. Rehab's position. His job is to raise and maintain awareness of unfair treatment of Muslims in America, real or apparent.
It's harder to wrap my mind around "muslims being their usual stupid, arrogant, self-important selves." However, this crude statement illustrates something that Muslim apologists should pay attention to. From Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal to the Flying Imams, enough Muslims have 'just happened' to be offensive for unsophisticated infidels to assume that all Muslims are self-righteous prigs. It's not true, of course.
The unpleasant reality is that Muslim fanatics are trying to destroy American culture and institutions: and any Americans who are not sufficiently Islamic, or who simply get in the way.
Some Americans find it difficult to be tolerant toward these activities and beliefs.
Rational self-preservation is a correct response to the threat of the Jihad against the west.
Overly-broad, ignorant generalizations about all Muslims, or everyone who speaks Arabic, is foolish.
Implied claims of racism aren't the most sensible thing to do, either. Unless the intent is to whip up even-stronger anti-Muslim/anti-Arab statements and acts: which in turn could be used as support of the initial claims of bias.
Bottom line: With the exception of a few people who support al Qaeda or similar jihadist organizations, everyone in a country which is either non-Islamic, or insufficiently Islamic, is in danger.
Rational steps need to be taken to deal with that danger.
But, being suspicious of everyone who looks Middle Eastern and/or speaks Arabic is not rational.
Information and quotes for this post are from:
International Herald Tribune
Posts on this general topic:
- If You Hear Someone Speaking Arabic, GET A GRIP
(September 1, 2007)
- Beware Hate: From Any Side
(August 28, 2007)
- Special Consideration Doesn't Help
(August 27, 2007)
- Jihad Rehab
(August 22, 2007)
- Muslims Are Not All Alike
(August 19, 2007)
- More about "Yeh Hum Naheen" / "This is Not Us"
(August 9, 2007)
- Saudi Arabia: Non-Islamic Religious Items Verboten
(August 9, 2007)
- Moderate Muslim Video from Pakistan: Very Good News
(August 7, 2007)
- Rep. Ellison's Misconstrued Reichstag Remarks
(July 17, 2007)
- There's a New Loon in Minnesota
(July 16, 2007)
- Another Islamic Voice in the Debate
(July 16, 2007)
- "Islam is a Peaceful Religion" 2
(July 15, 2007)
- "Islam is a Peaceful Religion"
(July 6, 2007)