Be careful when flying while Muslim on AirTran Airways.
The Associated Press reports that “AirTran Airways apologized [today] to nine Muslims [who were] kicked off a New Year’s Day flight to after other passengers reported hearing a suspicious remark about airplane security.
” One of the [Muslim] passengers said the confusion started at Reagan National Airport just outside Washington, D.C., when he talked about the safest place to sit on an airplane.”
The AP reports that the Muslim passenger, 29-year-old lawyer Atif Irfan, “said when he boarded the flight [yesterday], he mentioned something to his wife and sister-in-law about having to sit in the back. His sister-in-law replied that she believed the back of the airplane was the safest, but Irfan believed it was better to be by the wings.
“‘She said, “Yes, I guess it makes sense not to be close to the engine in case something happens,”’ Irfan recalled [today]. ‘It was a very benign conversation.'”
“Irfan said he thought he and [his companions] were profiled because of their appearance,” the AP reports. “The men had beards and the women wore headscarves, traditional Muslim attire.”
I wasn’t there, and neither were you (probably), but it seems to me that it was indeed a case of ethnic profiling, probably by some easily spooked whities.
Were a group of Anglo-Americans talking about the safest location to sit in an airliner, probably no one would think anything of it.
Too bad that we Americans couldn’t ring in the new year by turning over a new leaf where post-9/11 hysteria is concerned.
I’ll keep on hoping for that change that we’ve been promised…