Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Flying Imams - Are They Trying to Set Us Up?

I've been following the story of the "Flying Imams" since the incident at the Minneapolis airport on November 20. I thought at the time that their behavior was odd and had a sneaking suspicion that they were trying to draw attention to themselves, not just innocently praying, as they claimed in the aftermath. I wasn't sure if it was a ploy to create a lawsuit for money (and let's not forget sensitivity training for all involved - shame on you!) or something more sinister. As more and more details come to light I am convinced it was the latter case.

These guys are trying to raise a big stink, trying to embarass US Airways, the crew of the aircraft and the other passengers by invoking those terrible twins, the R-word, racism and the B-word, bigotry. They are calculating that if a similar incident occurs in the near future the next group of passengers or crew will hesitate to say anything for fear of having the dreaded labels of racist or bigot attached to them. This is a cynical manipulation of most American's basic decency and desire to get along with everybody. We see this tactic from grievance mongers all the time. Don't buy it.

It seems like my suspicions are shared by quite a few people. Richard Miniter has a post at Pajamas Media today with lots of detail about the incident, including links to the police report of the incident and to a letter written by one of the passengers to US Airways. Powerline has also been following the story with posts here, here, here and here.

If someone tries to stick you with the label of bigot or racist, and you know damn well you aren't, ignore it and do what you think is right. I'd rather be falsely accused than dead. The Flying Imams are counting on you to appease their faked outrage by backing down or not speaking up in the first place. In other words, call "bullshit" on them with a clear conscience.

UPDATE: Debra Burlingame, the sister of Charles F. "Chic" Burlingame, pilot of American Airliens Flight 77 that was crashed into the Pentagon by the 9/11 hijackers, has a column in the December 6 Wall Street Journal. She is quite unequivocal about what she thinks is going on here and really nails the situation perfectly.
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