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Much praise and accolades of judicious common sense goes out to Republican Representative Steve Pearce from New Mexico, ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee Representative Peter King, Republican from New York, and all those on the House floor who voted to include protections for diligent citizens who speak out against suspicious behaviors concerning matters of national security. Largely a Democrat sponsored bill, the Rail and Public Transportation Security Act of 2007 (pdf) was sent back to committee for further modification and justifiable improvements, despite some seriously shameful resistance from Mississippi Democrat, Bennie Thompson (who happens to be the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.)

Concerning CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) and the flying imams… “Absolutely they should have the ability to seek redress in a court of law,” said Mr. Thompson, who suggested that protecting passengers from a lawsuit would encourage racial profiling.

Obviously Mr. Thompson doesn’t have any notion what-so-ever as to what the hell he’s talking about, and I would even posit the man is a bigot for making such a proposition as the one he made above. Islam is not a race. Muslims are not a race. Mr. Thompson, not everyone who is a Muslim is of Arab descent, and not everyone who is of Arab descent is a Muslim. To suggest otherwise, as you did here, is inherently racist.

Thompson may be a bit flummoxed as to what CAIR actually is, who they represent, and the motives behind their plainly dubious activities–motives that are perpetually glossed over and consistently ignored by the media out of an ongoing and misguided, politically correct obfuscating masquerade designed to push their “moderate” Muslim agenda of misinformation. This misinformation is presented in a way that advances CAIR as a civil rights organization designed to protect decent, honest Muslims from persecution at the hands of “ignorant” Americans who want to harm the good name of Islam in general, and Muslims specifically, despite the fact Muslims around the world tend to do a fairly admirable job of that themselves (you don’t hear much damage control from Christian organizations when one of their pastors or priests asserts women who don’t wear a hijab deserves to be raped.)

If CAIR is the mouthpiece for Muslims in the United States, why do they, in conjunction with the current liberal leaning media, misrepresent and apologize for abhorrent comments and/or actions committed by Muslims throughout the world (including here in America) in the name of Islam, rather than do the honorable thing and out rightly condemn those statements or acts? Perhaps because those acts we as a civilized society consider shocking and horrific are actually an accepted aspect of Islamic faith. Not only are they accepted as mandated by the Qur’an and the Hadith, they are encouraged even today as they have been since Muhammad returned to Mecca in the 6th century.

Sura (2:191)And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter [of non-believers]

Sura (3:151)“Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority.” This speaks directly of killing Christians, since they believe in the Trinity (ie. what Muhammad incorrectly believed to be ‘joining companions to Allah’).

Sura (8:12)I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them

Sura (47:4)So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners (source)

These are only a few verses that speak of violent jihad against unbelievers (while the Christian Bible, specifically The Old Testament, is a descriptive work, the Qur’an is normative, applicable to today as it was centuries ago.) There are many more such verses, and all of them have abrogated any peaceful passages that arose originally due to Muhammed’s relative weak standing when he initially began the religion of Islam while exiled in Medina. Once he commenced attracting followers and subsequently his army, gaining the power necessary to crush those who once opposed him, Muhammed showed his true colors as a brutal warlord, evidenced by the sampling of verses above. Kill the unbelievers where ever you find them. It is not Christians or Buddhists or Jews who are intolerant of Muslims. It is Muslims who are intolerant of everyone else (not all Muslims are intolerant or violent by nature as most are simply individuals who want to lead peaceful lives, but this is generally in contrast to what the Qur’an teaches.)

This was most recently evidenced via the lawsuit filed a couple of weeks ago by CAIR and the flying imams stemming from the stunt on US Airways Flight 300 perpetrated by the Muslim clerics last November. As I previously pointed out, CAIR not only filed suit against US Airways and the Minnesota Metropolitan Airports Commission, they additionally implicated several “John Does” on that same flight–civilian passengers who’s diligence helped with the imams’ understandable removal from the airplane.

This was a bold and dangerous attempt to silence any dissent from any non-Muslim persons who might witness Muslims (or anyone for that matter, regardless of religious beliefs or ethnicity) eliciting suspicious behavior, such as the performance by the flying imams. Praying is one thing. Denouncing America and shouting Allahu Akbar while standing in line to get on a passenger plane, then ignoring your assigned seating, choosing to seat yourself in the positions of the 9/11 hijackers, and finally asking for seatbelt extenders despite the fact you obviously don’t need them, placing them next to you on the floor and within easy reach–this behavior is beyond suspicious, obviously deserving of scrutiny and subsequent ejection from the flight. Anyone who believes otherwise must take a serious step back and honestly examine the reality in which we live post 9/11.

Know this CAIR, and anyone who wishes to spread sharia throughout the United States: I will be watching you. I will be everywhere you are and I will be watching you. Islam is not the authority. If you do anything suspicious, I will be there to report you to the proper authority, and I will rest easy with the knowledge that you have no power to prevent it.

 

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House votes to protect ‘John Does’ on flights

By Audrey Hudson
Published March 27, 2007

House Republicans tonight surprised Democrats with a procedural vote to protect public-transportation passengers from being sued if they report suspicious activity — the first step by lawmakers to protect “John Doe” airline travelers already targeted in such a lawsuit.
After a heated debate and calls for order, the motion to recommit the Democrats’ Rail and Public Transportation Security Act of 2007 back to committee with instructions to add the protective language passed on a vote of 304-121.
Republicans said the lawsuit filed by six Muslim imams against US Airways and “John Does,” passengers who reported suspicious behavior, could have a “chilling effect” on passengers who may fear being sued for acting vigilant.
Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican and ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, offered the motion saying all Americans — airline passengers included — must be protected from lawsuits if they report suspicious behavior that may foreshadow a terrorist attack.
“All of our lives changed after September 11, and one of the most important things we have done is ask local citizens to do what they can to avoid another terrorist attack, if you see something, say something,” said Mr. King.
“We have to stand by our people and report suspicious activity,” he said. “I cannot imagine anyone would be opposed to this.”
Mr. King called it a “disgrace” that the suit seeks to identify “people who acted out of good faith and reported what they thought was suspicious activity.”
Rep. Bennie Thompson, Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, opposed the motion over loud objections from colleagues on the House floor, forcing several calls to order from the chair.
“Absolutely they should have the ability to seek redress in a court of law,” said Mr. Thompson, who suggested that protecting passengers from a lawsuit would encourage racial profiling.
“This might be well-intended, but it has unintended consequences,” Mr. Thompson said, before he accepted the motion to recommit.
The motion to recommit was based on a bill introduced last week by Rep. Steve Pearce, New Mexico Republican, to protect “John Does” or passengers targeted in a lawsuit filed by six Muslim imams earlier this month in Minneapolis.
Mr. Pearce said the imams are “using courts to terrorize Americans.”
“If we allow this lawsuit to go forward it will have a chilling effect,” Mr. Pearce said.
A Republican memo issued prior to the vote cites the November incident when the men were removed from a US Airways flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix for suspicious behavior, the details of which were first reported by The Washington Times.
The men prayed loudly before boarding, did not take their assigned seats and formed patterns officials said mirrored the September 11 hijackers, asked for seat-belt extenders not needed, and criticized President Bush and the war in Iraq.
“Earlier this month, the six imams filed suit against the airlines. Shockingly, the imams also filed suit against the passengers who reported the suspicious behavior,” the memo said.
“The Republican motion to recommit will ensure that any person that voluntarily reports suspicious activity — anything that could be a threat to transportation security — will be granted immunity from civil liability for the disclosure,” the memo said.
The amendment is retroactive to activities that took place on or after Nov. 20, 2006 — the date of the Minneapolis incident, and authorizes courts to award attorneys’ fees to defendants with immunity.
“By passing a specific grant of immunity that covers passengers reporting suspicious activity in good faith, we will prevent special-interest lawyers from using ‘creative’ legal theories to attack the well-meaning passengers who make reports,” the memo said.
Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in an open letter yesterday to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty that “the only individuals against whom suit may be raised in this litigation are those who may have knowingly made false reports against the imams with the intent to discriminate against them.”
The Becket Fund criticized the lawsuit last week and in a letter to Mr. Awad asked that the “John Does” be removed from the lawsuit, however CAIR is standing by the decision.
“The imams will not sue any passengers who reported suspicious activity in good faith, even when the ‘suspicious’ behavior included the imams’ constitutionally protected right to practice their religion without fear or intimidation,” Mr. Awad said.
However, Mr. Awad said that “when a person makes a false report with the intent to discriminate, he or she is not acting in good faith.”

 

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CAIR Press Release – BLOGGER ARRESTED FOR CRITICIZING ISLAM!

Well, that’s a bit of a lie. I don’t think any bloggers, journalists, writers, etc. have been arrested at this time simply for criticizing Islam (though several have certainly received death threats resulting from their stance concerning Islam and the teachings of the Qur’an.) Of course, I’m referring to arrests only in the United States, and there have been none at this point (just don’t plan on doing any blogging in Egypt.) However, if CAIR continues to construct the slippery slope they have been fervently building, especially since 9/11, while more and more U.S. politicians arise who are either radical Islamic supporters or dhimmi politicians (legion) who, through their apologia and capitulating tendencies, contribute to that fallacious waterslide, I do not doubt that America may one day soon be witness to Islamic persecution of free speech and those who defy the CAIR mandate by exercising their right to speak out in defiance of politically correct appeasement in all things Muslim.

For now though, The Council on American-Islamic Relations must be content to simply punish the vigilant citizens who by random coincidence happened to have purchased a seat on the same plane with six imams who recklessly acted out intentionally (and I will even say maliciously) in order illicit the response they were obviously hoping for from the other passengers on flight 300–circumspectly uneasy. As a result not only has CAIR pronounced their intentions against US Airways and the Minnesota Metropolitan Airports Commission, but their apparent veridical scheme lies buried deep within the verbiage of the lawsuit itself. They are suing several of the November 20 US Airways flight passengers whose diligence assisted in escorting the Islamic clerics off of the plane.

Yet the suspicions and subsequent actions taken by those passengers and the flight crew were more than appropriate, and I doubt there are many who would react differently if presented a similar situation. Of course, the understandable passenger relfex is exactly the reaction CAIR was most likely hoping for so they could then proceed with a lawsuit that will attempt to annihilate racial/religious profiling for Muslims in airports, et al.

So were the flying imams really racially or religiously discriminated against? Of course not. If those six, presumably mature adult men would have simply boarded the aircraft and taken their assigned seats (they took up positions mirroring the terrorists of the 9/11 attacks), without causing the accompanying choreographed ruckus they ended up perpetrating, then nothing would have happened.

It was not the staff of US Airways or the other passengers who racially and religiously profiled and persecuted the imams; it was the imams themselves who flew their own bigoted colors by purposefully discriminating against themselves with their bizarre and contemptible stunt.

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The Real Target of the 6 Imams’ Discrimination Suit

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007 The “flying imams’ ” federal lawsuit, filed this week in Minneapolis, has made headlines around the country. The imams are demanding unspecified damages from US Airways and the Metropolitan Airports Commission, both with deep pockets. But their suit includes other defendants, as yet unnamed. These people, unaffiliated with the airline industry or government, are among the imams’ most vulnerable targets.

Recall the November 2006 incident that gave rise to the suit. The imams engaged in a variety of suspicious behaviors while boarding a US Airways flight, according to the airport police report. Some prayed loudly in the gate area, spoke angrily about the United States and Saddam, switched seats and sat in the 9/11 hijackers’ configuration, and unnecessarily requested seatbelt extenders that could be used as weapons, according to witness reports and US Airways spokeswoman Andrea Rader.

After extensive consultations, the pilot asked authorities to remove the imams for questioning, which they did, releasing them later that day.

“The pilot did what he had to do,” passenger Rita Snelson of Maplewood told the Star Tribune. “I told the airline afterward, ‘Thank you for watching over us.’ ”

The imams’ lawsuit, however, asserts that US Airways and the MAC acted solely out of religious and ethnic discrimination. It includes 17 separate counts.

It also rehearses a catalogue of harms allegedly suffered by the imams, including fear, depression, mental pain and financial injury. They have not only endured exhaustion, humiliation and ridicule, but also have lost sleep and developed anxiety about flying.

Their lawsuit appears to be the latest component in a national campaign to intimidate airlines and government agencies from acting prudently to ensure passenger safety. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is advising the imams, is also calling for congressional hearings and promoting federal legislation to “end racial profiling” in air travel. If the legislation passes, airport personnel who disproportionately question passengers who are Muslim or of Middle Eastern origin could be subject to sanctions.

But the most alarming aspect of the imams’ suit is buried in paragraph 21 of their complaint. It describes “John Doe” defendants whose identity the imams’ attorneys are still investigating. It reads: “Defendants ‘John Does’ were passengers … who contacted U.S. Airways to report the alleged ’suspicious’ behavior of Plaintiffs’ performing their prayer at the airport terminal.”

Paragraph 22 adds: “Plaintiffs will seek leave to amend this Complaint to allege true names, capacities, and circumstances supporting [these defendants’] liability … at such time as Plaintiffs ascertain the same.”

In plain English, the imams plan to sue the “John Does,” too.

Who are these unnamed culprits? The complaint describes them as “an older couple who was sitting [near the imams] and purposely turn[ed] around to watch” as they prayed. “The gentleman (’John Doe’) in the couple … picked up his cellular phone and made a phone call while watching the Plaintiffs pray,” then “moved to a corner” and “kept talking into his cellular phone.”

In retribution for this action, the unnamed couple probably will be dragged into court soon and face the prospect of hiring a lawyer, enduring hostile questioning and paying huge legal bills. The same fate could await other as-yet-unnamed passengers on the US Airways flight who came forward as witnesses.

The imams’ attempt to bully ordinary passengers marks an alarming new front in the war on airline security. Average folks, “John Does” like you and me, initially observed and reported the imams’ suspicious behavior on Nov. 20. Such people are our “first responders” against terrorism. But the imams’ suit may frighten such individuals into silence, as they seek to avoid the nightmare of being labeled bigots and named as defendants.

Ironically, on the day the imams filed their suit, a troubling internal memo came to light at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The memo revealed that our airport is at particular risk of terrorist attack because of its proximity to the Mall of America, its employment of relatively few security officers and other factors. The memo advised heightened vigilance to counter “this very real and deliberate threat.”

The imams may not be the only ones losing sleep and growing more afraid of flying.

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Grasping at straws over the US Airways Flight 300 fiasco back in November, Somali Muslims and Muslim-rights groups living in La La Land (Iran?), including the perpetually dubious Center on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), are demanding a prayer space in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport be set aside solely for use by Muslims and only Muslims–no Christians (or any other religious group) allowed, further proving that Islam is the most intolerant religion on the face of the planet.

From the St. Paul Pioneer Press article…

“Where you have Christians and Muslims praying at the same time, it will create a problem,” said Fuad Ali, a Somali leader who spoke at a meeting of community members and airport officials Tuesday in Minneapolis.

While there are many Christians who could be considered intolerant, that is usually in spite of the fact they’re Christians. The Qur’an teaches intolerance to followers of Islam, so who do you think will be the cause of “problems” should Muslims have to share a prayer room with Christians?

From the WND article further down the page in reference to the November 20 US Airways Flight 300 with the kooky imams…

The Washington, D.C., based lobby group Council on American-Islamic Relations also complained, according to CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.
“Because, unfortunately, this is a growing problem of singling out Muslims or people perceived to be Muslims at airports, and it’s one that we’ve been addressing for some time,” Hooper said.

You singled yourself out with your incendiary and purposefully outrageous behavior. You perpetrated a choreographed stunt in order to garner attention towards Islamic religious discrimination that just wasn’t there. I don’t deny that Muslims face religious discrimination (or any other religious group), but the incident on US Airways Flight 300 was handled very professionally by the US Airways staff. Passengers, while alarmed, didn’t resort to panic or bigotry. The imams, on the other hand, acted like idiots and the public saw through their facade for what it truly was: a publicity stunt designed to generate a religious discrimination lawsuit.

Still, it could be morbidly amusing to witness a prayer room with Muslims and Christians together. One group might be praying for a safe flight home, while the other group prays for a speedy trip to paradise.

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Airport hesitant to grant Muslim prayer room

Somali immigrant leaders also ask directors for signs in native language, exceptions for cabbies

BY EMILY GURNON
Pioneer Press

Somali immigrants passing through Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport want a private place to say Muslim prayers. The airport suggests they share a room with people of other religions.

Like a new couple learning to dance, immigrants and their adopted countries often trip each other up, and the prayer-room issue is just one of the latest tangles between Somali immigrants and other Minnesotans.

“Where you have Christians and Muslims praying at the same time, it will create a problem,” said Fuad Ali, a Somali leader who spoke at a meeting of community members and airport officials Tuesday in Minneapolis.

The prayer debate was sparked Nov. 20 when six imams — Muslim religious leaders — were removed from an airplane after they had been seen praying in public. According to witnesses, the men also made anti-American remarks, asked for seat-belt extenders they didn’t need and spread out to different areas of the plane.

The imams took another flight the next day.

But the incident drew worldwide attention. Muslims decried the treatment of the men, saying it was discriminatory, embarrassing and fueled by false rumors. Others praised the airline for taking the men off the plane, saying safety must come first in the post-Sept. 11 age.

Ali said Tuesday that he and other Somalis want a prayer room so they will not be faced with a similar incident.

“What can guarantee that will not happen again?” he said.

Airport Director Steve Wareham said if the airport provides a special area for Muslims to use, it potentially would have to accommodate other faiths the same way.

“Our request would be you try the quiet seating area,” he told the Somali immigrants.

That existing area is a carpeted room that contains chairs but no religious symbols. It has been used for years but was never obvious to travelers, said airport spokesman Patrick Hogan. The airport intends to install more signs directing people to it on the mezzanine level near the Chili’s restaurant, near the entry to the F Concourse.

At the same time, there is no restriction on praying in other parts of the airport, Wareham said.

Other issues continue to rile some Somali immigrants. Minnesota is home to the largest concentration of Somali immigrants in the country. The state estimates about 25,000 Somalis live here, though community leaders say the number is closer to 60,000.

Many of the airport’s Somali taxi drivers refuse to accept passengers who are carrying liquor, because their faith forbids it. The airport says it is a customer-service issue and has forced drivers who refuse fares to move to the back of the line, which can mean a wait as long as three hours for another fare.

Wareham said he would recommend to the airport’s management operations committee that it hold a public hearing on the matter. He favors stiffening the penalties against cab drivers who refuse fares for any reason other than their own safety.

“To be refused service by a taxi driver is, frankly, seen as an insult, and we don’t want our customers to experience it,” Wareham said.

Somalis assembled at Tuesday’s meeting at the Darul Quba Mosque in Minneapolis also wanted to know whether the airport would provide announcements and signs in Somali.

Probably not, officials said.

“The challenge is not inundating the air with messages people might start to ignore,” said Arlie Johnson, an assistant airport director.

At least the issue of the prayer room was met with some accommodation, said Abdirahman Hirsi, imam of the Darul Quba Mosque.

“It’s a kind of progress,” he said. “And we hope the future will be better.”

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Muslims warn of ‘problems’ in shared prayer room
Somali leader says Islam, Christianity incompatible


Posted: January 4, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com Muslims are demanding a private room to pray at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, saying there will be problems if they have to share an existing “quiet room” with people of other religions. “Where you have Christians and Muslims praying at the same time, it will create a problem,” said Fuad Ali, a Somali leader who spoke at a meeting with airport officials, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The meeting was a followup to an incident Nov. 20 when ticket agents and other passengers noticed six Muslim imams who had attended a conference in the area praying loudly before their flight, and shouting “Allah, Allah” when their flight was called. Officials said then they also asked to be scattered throughout the plane, rather than sitting together as they had been assigned. And some of the imams, although they did not need them, asked for seat-belt extenders. The pilot summoned security and the imams were removed from the flight, and then they alleged that they were discriminated against because of their religion. Now Somalis, who make up a large community in Minnesota and are predominantly Muslim, are demanding changes at the airport, including a private place for them to use for their prayers.

The airport, meanwhile, has suggested they share the room already set aside for such purposes.

The incident with the imams, who took another later flight, has launched both criticism and praise for the airline, US Airways. Critics say the airline was profiling based on religion, while those who praise the actions say safety must come first in the world since Sept. 11.

Ali said he just wanted a “guarantee” that something similar will not happen in the future.

But the airport already provides the generic quiet area, and if it would set aside a special area designated for Muslims, it could have to accommodate any – and all – other faiths the same way, noted Airport Director Steve Wareham.

“Our request would be you try the quiet seating area,” he said.

That is a carpeted room furnished with chairs – but without any religious symbols, airport officials said. It has been in use for a number of years, but hasn’t been obvious, so airport officials have promised to put up more signs to let people know where it is.

The airport also said people can pray in other parts of the airport as they wish.

As WND reported, one of the imams, Omar Shahin, is affiliated with a Hamas-linked organization and acknowledged a connection to Osama bin Laden in the 1990s.

Shahin is a representative of the Kind Hearts Organization, which had its assets frozen by the U.S. Treasury pending an investigation, notes Islam scholar Robert Spencer on his weblog JihadWatch


Omar Shahin displays Quran at Tucson Islamic Center in June 2001 (Photo: University of Arizona Daily Wildcat)

Treasury spokesman Stuart Levey in February said KindHearts “is the progeny of Holy Land Foundation and Global Relief Foundation, which attempted to mask their support for terrorism behind the façade of charitable giving.”

The imams had attended a conference in Minneapolis of the North American Imams Federation, said Shahin, who is president of the group.

“They took us off the plane, humiliated us in a very disrespectful way,” Shahin said after the incident.

The Washington, D.C., based lobby group Council on American-Islamic Relations also complained, according to CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.

“Because, unfortunately, this is a growing problem of singling out Muslims or people perceived to be Muslims at airports, and it’s one that we’ve been addressing for some time,” Hooper said.

CAIR, however, has its own ties to Hamas, having been identified by two former FBI counter-terrorism chiefs as a spinoff of a front group for the Palestinian terrorist organization.

A Sept. 28, 2001, story in the Arizona Republic that said Arizona appears to have been the home of an al-Qaida sleeper cell named Shahin as one of three part-time Arizona residents who “fits the pattern” of the terrorist group.

Shahin, identifed as being with the Tucson Islamic Center, said members of his mosque may have helped bin Laden in the early 1990s when the al-Qaida leader was fighting against the Russians.

The CIA at that time, Shahin said, called bin Laden a “freedom fighter.”

Witnesses to the imam’s explusion said some of them made anti-American comments about the war in Iraq before boarding the flight, according to airport officials.

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Mecca

And the continuing saga of the poor, victimized imams from US Airways Flight 300 on November 20 continues, despite the fact that their shenanigans did nothing but create a public relations fiasco that’s painted the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as manipulating whiners who attempted to elicit support from the army of the politically correct in order to eradicate any form of muslim/arab profiling. Purposefully, the six imams exhibited obviously inflammatory behavior in order to concoct a situation they could then point the finger of political correctness at as blatant and baseless discrimination–they simply want a lawsuit. Those who witnessed the events on Flight 300 would beg to differ as to the baselessness of the imam’s actions.

Now, CAIR is urging all Muslims on hajj to Mecca, which begins December 29, to look for (or perhaps seek out as the imams did on Flight 300) and document any signs of discrimination and/or oppression against their persons as a result of their faith and/or ethnicity when flying on any airline.

Hey Muslims (or anyone for that matter regardless of their ethnicity or religious bearings), here’s a tip: Don’t do what the six imams did on US Airways Flight 300–don’t act like a moron. If you simply get on the plane, relax, and enjoy the flight, I guarantee there will be no problems. Really. I’m not just making that up. I mean it. I really do.

Muslim pilgrims urged to complain

By Audrey Hudson
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
December 13, 2006

American Muslims making a religious pilgrimage to Mecca are being encouraged to file civil rights complaints if they feel discriminated against by airlines.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), citing what it called the “airport profiling” of six imams removed from a recent flight, yesterday said Muslims traveling this month to the holy site in Saudi Arabia need to be aware of their rights.

“Given the increase in the number of complaints CAIR has received alleging airport profiling of American Muslims, we believe it is important that all those taking part in this year’s hajj be aware of their legal and civil rights,” said Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR spokesman.

The group has established a toll-free hot line (800/784-7526) for victims of “flying while Muslim,” as Muslims have begun departing for the weeklong hajj, a once-in-a-lifetime obligation to visit the holy city of Mecca, which this year begins Dec. 29.

But M. Zuhdi Jasser, a Phoenix physician and chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), said the announcement by CAIR “continues the tired stoking of the flames of victimization.”

“They are unfortunately exploiting, for purely political reasons, what should be a sacred and purely spiritual story of our faith’s annual holy pilgrimage to Mecca,” Dr. Jasser said.

“We need new leadership and organizations which use their passions and the bandwidth of the media to lead the ideological fight against radical and political Islam rather than this tired pre-emption of supposed discrimination.”

CAIR is representing the six imams removed from a US Airways flight last month and has asked for a meeting with the airline to seek an out-of-court settlement. It maintains that police and witness reports detailing the imams unusual behavior before their removal last month were ethnically and/or religiously motivated.

The imams say they were praying and did not, as the reports say, change seats and make remarks critical of President Bush and the Iraq war.

Pilots and air marshals called the incident a “PC probe” to intimidate passengers and crew from reporting suspicious behavior by Muslim passengers and are fearful the incident will set off a domino effect of lawsuits.

Debra Burlingame, whose brother was the pilot of American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, thinks this is a ploy to extort money from the airlines.

“I think CAIR is soliciting complaints, and if they don’t get it, they will make it up,” said Miss Burlingame, who is also a director for the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation.

“People complain about everything, including bad weather, so, the angry Muslim activists will be loaded for bear,” Miss Burlingame said.

A guide issued by CAIR advises Muslims that “as an airline passenger, you are entitled to courteous, respectful and non-stigmatizing treatment by airline and security personnel.”

“You have the right to complain about treatment that you believe is discriminatory,” the guide says.

Those treated in a discriminatory manner are advised by CAIR to “ask for the names and ID numbers of all persons involved in the incident. Be sure to write this information down.”

The Washington Times obtained police and witness reports just days after the incident involving the imams, and reported on Nov. 28 that the men did not sit in their assigned seats, asked for seat-belt extensions they did not need, and spoke in Arabic among themselves.

Federal air marshals and pilots were also asked by The Washington Times to examine the imams’ seating arrangement, and reported that it resembled a pattern used by the September 11 hijackers.

“That behavior has been identified as a terrorist probe in the airline industry,” one pilot said.

One airline official who asked to remain anonymous called the CAIR threats about ethnic profiling “much ado about a practice that does not exist in any major airline.”

“You do wonder what the ultimate aim is here; to eliminate a discriminatory practice that does not exist, or is there some other agenda afoot,” the official said.

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