posted at 5:50 pm on May 1, 2007 by see-dubya
The State Department reports, and British officials concur, that the next terror attack in America may be hatched in the UK:
The finding, in the State Department’s annual country report on terrorism, reflects growing fears on both sides of the Atlantic about radicalised young British Muslims.
British intelligence chiefs have confirmed to The Times that they are worried by the prospect of the next attack in America being committed by a British citizen arriving without hindrance in the US on the visa waiver programme. They are liaising closely with the FBI to identify possible suspects.
Better be careful how you identify those suspects, though, or the Flying Imams will be after you with a pack of CAIR lawyers. They’re now pushing back against the John Doe pushback, in the Christian Science Monitor*:
“Of course people should report suspicious activity,” says Arsalan Iftikar, legal director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Washington, which has worked closely with the imams. “Nobody who reported any suspicious activity in good faith is a target in this lawsuit. However, making false and defamatory statements is not protected by law, and those are the people we want to depose.”
Because the imams’ suit also lists the passengers who allegedly made false reports, some conservative groups have taken up the defendant passengers’ cause. They say the suit is part of a larger strategy by Islamist extremists to probe airline security and intimidate Americans from reporting suspicious activity.
If you have been following the Flying Imams’ story, it’s interesting to hear their version of what happened on the flight, and how everything they did was just perfectly reasonable:
One imam, a frequent-flier gold-card member, was upgraded to first class. He asked if he could also upgrade some of his colleagues, but was told first class was full. Once on board, the upgraded imam asked for a seat-belt extension to accommodate his girth, as he does every time he flies, according to the imams’ complaint. A second imam also asked for a seat-belt extension, while another asked a passenger if he could change seats so that he could sit next to a colleague who is blind and may have needed help. He also went to talk briefly to his friend in first class.
Of course, they weren’t actually fat enough to need seat belt extensions.** I’m sized somewhere between the two biggest Imams and I’ve never needed a seatbelt extension. Not even close.
* Does anyone actually read the Christian Science Monitor? Even Christian Scientists? I have never known a subscriber. I haven’t seen a print edition in years–not even a commuter on a bus or anything. Maybe, I guess, in a library.
People talk about it, and cite it in books and articles sometimes. But I’m not sure it actually exists.
** While trying to confirm how chubby you need to be to need a seat belt extension, I ran across this hilarious page on Southwest’s site about their policy of politely telling “passengers of size” that they’re so fat they need to buy an extra seat:
Why ask large Customers to purchase additional seating?
We could no longer ignore complaints from Customers who traveled without full access to the seat purchased due to encroachment by a large seatmate whose body extended into the neighboring seat. These Customers had uncomfortable (and sometimes painful) travel experiences, and it is our responsibility to seek resolution to prevent this problem.