Report: Airport imams followed hijack pattern in seating, mentioned Bin Laden

posted at 10:59 am on November 28, 2006 by Allahpundit

Misunderstanding? Thwarted terror attack? Or a deliberate attempt to get thrown off the plane so that they could scream “Islamophobia”?

Passengers and flight attendants told law-enforcement officials the imams switched from their assigned seats to a pattern associated with the September 11 terrorist attacks and also found in probes of U.S. security since the attacks — two in the front row first-class, two in the middle of the plane on the exit aisle and two in the rear of the cabin.

“That would alarm me,” said a federal air marshal who asked to remain anonymous. “They now control all of the entry and exit routes to the plane.”

A pilot from another airline said: “That behavior has been identified as a terrorist probe in the airline industry.”…

Three of the men asked for seat-belt extenders, although two flight attendants told police the men were not oversized. One flight attendant told police she “found this unsettling, as crew knew about the six [passengers] on board and where they were sitting.” Rather than attach the extensions, the men placed the straps and buckles on the cabin floor, the flight attendant said.

The imams said they were not discussing politics and only spoke in English, but witnesses told law enforcement that the men spoke in Arabic and English, criticizing the war in Iraq and President Bush, and talking about al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden…

A flight attendant said one of the men made two trips to the rear of the plane to talk to the imam during boarding, and again when the flight was delayed because of their behavior. Aviation officials, including air marshals and pilots, said these actions alone would not warrant a second look, but the combination is suspicious.

They quote two pilots from other airlines and two former air marshals, all of whom say the imams’ behavior was cause for concern.

You’ve got all this plus Omar Shahin’s admission that his mosque used to support Osama back in the day when he was still a “good guy” plus his work for the KindHearts charity that’s been linked to Hamas, and yet there hasn’t been a single media inquiry thus far about the goings-on at the conference of North American imams that Shahin and co. were in town to attend. Curious, especially since America’s first Muslim Congressman, Keith Ellison, was also in attendance. You’d think that might pique some journalist’s curiosity, but so far it hasn’t. Lileks wonders why.


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Where were the Air Marshall’s and Chuck Norris ?

Texyank on November 28, 2006 at 11:09 AM

I saw that report this morning and find it curious that some Democrats find it worth their time to join ranks with them. Do they believe winning back Congress allows them the freedom to openly side with terror supporters?

JammieWearingFool on November 28, 2006 at 11:09 AM

Sounds more and more like a dry run.

mikeyboss on November 28, 2006 at 11:16 AM

And WTF were the passengers doing during all this.

I mean you don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.

there it is on November 28, 2006 at 11:16 AM

Before 9-11, we didn’t realize we were giving our enemies the tools to kills us. Now, after 9-11, after we saw what they did in our country with our planes that they were taught to fly by our schools, we still pull this… stuff (for lack of a more appropriate word).

It’s amazing we’ve lasted as long as we have.

Esthier on November 28, 2006 at 11:17 AM

All I suggest is if you are on a plane and see anything suspicious, get in their faces and report it. It’s better to cause a ruckus while the aircraft is on the ground.

JammieWearingFool on November 28, 2006 at 11:18 AM

Man, where do the similarities between the imams and Rosa Parks stop?

They’re UNCANNY, Contessa Brewer, you moron.

Why the hell did it take a week for this info to come out??

Rosetta on November 28, 2006 at 11:19 AM

Sounds more and more like a dry run.

mikeyboss on November 28, 2006 at 11:16 AM

Maybe, but they did actually have a reason to be here. Knowing that our enemies have a great love of the sympathy they receive in the media, I’m willing to buy that it was no more than a publicity stunt.

Were it just a dry run, they’d want to draw the least amount of attention to themselves, thus seeing just what they could get away with. By drawing as much attention as they did, they would have sabatoged their own dry run.

Esthier on November 28, 2006 at 11:19 AM

All the more reason why my airline has open seating, nobody can reserve the exit row seats or the first and last row. It’s also another of many reasons why they don’t try this crap with SWA. That, and as I’ve mentioned before, the fact that our passengers have ALREADY killed one moron who tried to breach the cockpit BEFORE 9/11.

Tony737 on November 28, 2006 at 11:26 AM

Good point.

mikeyboss on November 28, 2006 at 11:28 AM

Sounds more and more like a dry run.

Could be..and they got caught, so now they are crying “Islamphobia” in order to draw attention away from it. I still think they are trying to make a big deal and threatning lawsuits so that in the future people will have second thoughts about reporting suspicious behavior, making it easier for them to carry out an attack.

vcferlita on November 28, 2006 at 11:28 AM

It wasn’t a dry run, nor a publicity stunt for the sake of just publicity. They want what the Dem leadership wants and that is to outlaw profiling on airliners. Once that happens terrorists are going to be free to do as they wish on our planes. It was an asymmetric attack on this country, leveraging the enemy within to aid and abet.

p0s3r on November 28, 2006 at 11:31 AM

More like a probe. I am certain that the imams were NOT on a suicide mission. Remember, suicide is for the underlings, not the enlightened leaders.

They are certainly getting mucho air miles out of the publicity though. Perhaps that was also an intended outcome.

Talon on November 28, 2006 at 11:31 AM

that is to outlaw profiling on airliners. Once that happens terrorists are going to be free to do as they wish on our planes. It was an asymmetric attack on this country, leveraging the enemy within to aid and abet.

That’s what I’m talking about.

vcferlita on November 28, 2006 at 11:33 AM

I’m on record as voting for the “deliberate attempt to get thrown off the plane.” I agree with vcferlita that they are trying to make people wary of complaining in the future – either so they can tie things up in court and perhaps win some $$ for their “charitable organizations,” or so the real “bad guys” can carry out far more dastardly plans. They did all of these things (no luggage, one-way tix, changing seats, asking for the extenders, etc.) to make people notice them. We should all offer thanks to the flight attendants and airport personnel who did exactly what they should have done.

lan astaslem on November 28, 2006 at 11:37 AM

Sounds more and more like a dry run.

mikeyboss on November 28, 2006 at 11:16 AM

Indeed.

Milking the free press coverage as much as possible, and testing how easy it would be for another group of highjackers to take another plane.

Lawrence on November 28, 2006 at 11:37 AM

My question is this…

Given all our so-called ‘security’ efforts, how easy would it have been for these Imams to actually highjack this plane? How easy would it have been if they where younger and specifically trained for a highjacking?

My answer, in this case, not very hard at all.

So… the airline and flight crew did exaclty the right thing. And they should be lauded as heroes, not crucified, by the media.

Lawrence on November 28, 2006 at 11:40 AM

I’m on record as voting for the “deliberate attempt to get thrown off the plane.”

I agree and think we should have accomodated them – after takeoff.

jman on November 28, 2006 at 11:47 AM

The more I hear about things like this the less I like to fly. And I have never liked to fly.

Bob's Kid on November 28, 2006 at 11:59 AM

The more I hear about things like this the less I like to fly. And I have never liked to fly.

Bob’s Kid on November 28, 2006 at 11:59 AM

I do not worry as much. In the event of another hijacking, I do not think passengers will ever sit passively by and let the hijackers have control. The hijackers will always be outnumbered.

jman on November 28, 2006 at 12:04 PM

Time to add passenger compartment video cameras, monitored and controlled by the flight engineer so their behavior can be recorded and played in court and on the news. We do it on school buses.

Catseye on November 28, 2006 at 12:14 PM

I think this is a case of the Culture of Outrage gone wild. Post 9/11, all Americans have made sacrifices in order to keep air travel safe. We all take off our shoes in the airport, toss out any large bottles of liquids, etc. When the plane is in flight, we all try our best to stay in our seats so as to not cause alarm in our fellow travellers. However, these Imams were itching for a controversy. They feel that because they are Muslims, they do not need to make any sacrifices.

BohicaTwentyTwo on November 28, 2006 at 12:16 PM

Would it be legally “religious harassment” to begin chanting “Allah Crackbar” or some other humorous repeat when this sort of spontaneous airport travel mosque display begins?

You know that it is going to become a growing trend…
“Did you pack your prayer rug in your carry-on?”

RalphyBoy on November 28, 2006 at 12:16 PM

Kind of funny considering these Imams weren’t listed on the “No Fly” List and Ted Kennedy’s name was…

kiakjones on November 28, 2006 at 12:21 PM

I think we need to declare all planes non religious zones

Defector01 on November 28, 2006 at 12:26 PM

I doubt *VERY* seriously that this was a “dry run”. As Esthier points out, they were too ostentatious. A practice run would *HARDLY* wish to call attention to itself, or would designate one of their six “attendees” to be the suspicious one, testing the limits of tolerance and security, while the others watched and planned.

This is more likely, if its anything (which one has reason to doubt), a stunt to bring attention to profiling and security measures, in order to advance the causes of Islamism among the minority population. Look at who’s jumping “on-board”, so to speak, in support of these losers. They all seem to be the “racial-profiling” crowd.

More and more, folks are selling this anti-profiling garbage as racism, when it was always good police method and sensible precaution. The ultimate aim is for people to look at race *LAST* in any issue of security or enforcement, when race is often the most visible and reliable indicator of potential for mischief. That is not to say that all Arab males are hijackers, any more than it is to say that all black males are drug dealer. What it *DOES* say is that, if you get 19 guys, all Arab males, hijacking airplanes, don’t waste your time asking 90 year-old Christmas-bound grandmas to remove their shoes for the 13th time.

One might also be advised to see how this incident is used in fund-raising, both in the Islamic and the native minority grievance communities. If you create apparent unfairness, it appears the same as uncovering genuine unfairness.

In the end, it seems that the airline’s security system worked as it was supposed to work. Six suspicious persons were stopped. It’s better to stop someone and apologize later than to be nice and have to apologize to the bereaved relatives of your 100+ passengers and crew.

They quote two pilots from other airlines and two former air marshals, all of whom say the imams’ behavior was cause for concern.

That would have been enough for me. Suspicious behavior is suspicious. Suspicion requires clarification. If those questioned don’t like it, they can take the bus next time they travel.

…as a side-note, I find it interesting that the moron who’s turning this into a referrendum on race calls himself Mahdi Bray. From Wikipedia:

The Mahdi (“Guided One” ), in Islamic eschatology, is the prophesied redeemer of Islam, who will change the world into a perfect Islamic society alongside the Prophet Jesus before Yaum al-Qiyamah (literally “Day of the Resurrection”). The “hdi” of “Mahdi” refers to the Arabic root which means “to guide”.

…as a convert, I doubt that “Mahdi” is his birthname (e.g., Malcolm Little >> Malik El-Shabazz, Everett LeRoi Jones >> Amiri Baraka, etc.). I looked for a minute or two for his actual name, but quickly lost interest.

It’s rather like a person converting to Buddhism and deciding to change his name to “Bodhisattva”.

Personally, I’m considering changing my name to Imam Al-Hajj His Excellency President-For-Life Idi Amin Dada The Honorable Guru Long-Penis Puritan1648, Defender of the Faith. It’ll be expensive getting the cards printed, but it might get me seating upgrades on airlines other than US Air.
Anyone with any spare honorifics to sell, I’ve still got room.

Puritan1648 on November 28, 2006 at 12:33 PM

Tony, out of curiosity, if I, very non-PC Joe Citizen, raise all kinds of hell about having to ride with allahs minions and demand to get off the plane myself, would SWA give me my fare back? ‘Course, we on SWA would probably just beat the allah out of ‘em…, but just wondering.

thebookkeeper on November 28, 2006 at 12:33 PM

Next time you see an imam on a plane, give him the sign of the Cross and say “Jesus loves you.” Mean it when you say it, but also watch how they react.

“Sheiks on a Plane” – Full credit goes to Kevin on that one.

Tony737 on November 28, 2006 at 12:33 PM

Total. Dry. Run.

Don’t think that every jihadi and their brother isn’t watching every last comment, policy adjustment and fart being made by every airline. This will allow them to adjust their plan, and try another dry run with new twists. Seat belt extensions were unattainable, so they will ask for something else. Prayer attracts a lot of attention-DUH, wearing Western clothes, how did that work?

WriterMom on November 28, 2006 at 1:16 PM

What’s the significance of the seat belt extenders?

CookeyD on November 28, 2006 at 2:42 PM

Cookey, a seat belt extention can be used as a weapon.

Here’s a perfect example of what I was talkin’ about before. Right now as I type this I am sittin’ in the last row of a Southwest plane, (Deadheading, not working the flight) we are almost done boarding. A group of seven muslims just got on. All they had left to choose from were middle seats in the back of the aircraft, hence they are of no threat. Had they assigned seats, aisle seats in the very front, the very back and the exit rows, they’d be a concern. Now they can’t do anything. If they had gotten there early and DID get those seats, the Crew would take notice and prepare themselves for it. How? Sorry, that’s classified. If I tell ya, I gotta kill ya.

Tony737 on November 28, 2006 at 3:28 PM

Which leads to my next question: Could they use them as weapons or have they already? Was that one of the methods used during 9/11?

CookeyD on November 28, 2006 at 5:22 PM

Just landed.

No, on 9/11 they used perfectly legal boxcutters. Why were they legal? I dunno, they should NOT have been, but they were. Seat belt extentions can be used as choking and restraining devices. We (Flight Crew) have many items onboard that seem harmless but we know how to use them as weapons.

Most flights have Air Marshals just WAITIN’ for an excuse to kick somebody’s ass.

Tony737 on November 28, 2006 at 5:31 PM

The conference agenda is located on the website if anyone is interested in reading it.

http://www.imamsofamerica.com/NAIF2006.pdf

Ripclawe on November 28, 2006 at 6:44 PM

Whoa! I’ve never been in first class in my life. These jerks think that they can ‘allah is great’ up-down-up-down pray a few times and then mosey their way into TWO first class seats and everything will be just fine?

Forget that. Unless they want to pay the 10X higher costs for those seats, they can plan their publicity stunts in coach with the rest of us cattle.

The nerve of some people!

JadeNYU on November 28, 2006 at 6:45 PM

I just did a little more research on this story.

Apparently, after being detained for a few hours and being told by US Air that their tickets had been refunded and they couldn’t purchase new ones, the head imam Shahin purchased 6 tickets from NorthWest.

5 for Phoenix and 1 for Los Angeles (one of the imams is actually from Bakersfield, CA).

It’s entirely possible that he decided not to visit with his AZ friends after having been ‘humiliated’ by being taken off the plane.

However, I also find it suspicious that he suddenly didn’t need to go to Arizona anymore. Perhaps the business of getting kicked off the plane was his only business in AZ.

This whole situation stinks…..

JadeNYU on November 28, 2006 at 7:56 PM

Who do you believe, the passengers, crew, and others who were concerned at the behavior of the Imams, or the Imams themselves who claim that they were just minding their own business and not doing anything unusually, and hence, the passengers, crew, and others who were uncomfortable and concerned are just Islamophobic, racist people involved in religious discrimination?

William

William2006 on November 28, 2006 at 10:47 PM