Imams vs. US Airways – Not As It Appears

Safety/Security, US Airways

I’m sure by now everyone has heard about the 6 imams who were removed from a US Airways flight in Minneapolis last Monday for praying too loud and acting suspicious. The initial reaction was what you’d expect. The left decried the loss of civil rights and the blatant discrimination that had occurred. The imams even arranged a pray-in to fight the social injustice. On the surface, it looked like just another overreaction on the part of the customers onboard.

Recently, more details have been coming out about what happened, and to be honest, I would have been the first one to ring the flight attendant call button if it’s all true. To read all the details, check out the police report along with witness statements here. Here is a summary:

  • Before the flight, the imams were all together speaking in Arabic in what appeared to be a heated discussion. Some passengers were able to decipher that they were talking about the US and “Killing Saddam” or something like that.
  • Before the flight boarded, they were praying loudly. When boarding was called, the men “chanted ‘Allah, Allah, Allah'” and then calmly boarded the flight.
  • Before boarding, one of the men asked the gate agent for an upgrade to First Class but the agent said that First was full. When the passengers were removed, at least one of them had taken a seat in First Class anyway. Others were split between the middle and the back of the plane in what has been described as a typical seating configuration for people trying to take over an aircraft.
  • During boarding, the men from the front went back to talk to their colleagues at the back on more than one occasion. (Have you ever tried to go upstream against boarding passengers? If so, you’d never do it again.)
  • Some of the men asked for seatbelt extenders despite the fact that they weren’t overweight and didn’t need them. This aroused suspicion that they were to be used as weapons. The flight attendants brought the extenders, but the men put them on the ground instead of actually using them.
  • One of the passengers interviewed is a self-proclaimed frequent traveler to Turkey with wide exposure to Muslim culture. After engaging one of the imams, the passenger became suspicious. Apparently, the imam’s story changed as the passenger questioned him on details, and his views appeared to be fundamentalist. For example, the imam said it was necessary to do “whatever measures necessary to obey all that’s set out in the Quran.”

Now, if this all really did happen, you tell me you wouldn’t have raised a red flag.

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