That story about the six Middle Eastern men being dragged off a U.S. Airways flight has been making the rounds of righty blogs but I thought it had a whiff of shinola about it. Sure enough, the not-so-exciting conclusion:
Six Muslim imams were removed from a US Airways flight at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and questioned by police for several hours before being released, a leader of the group said…
A passenger initially raised concerns about the group through a note passed to a flight attendant, according to Andrea Rader, a spokeswoman for US Airways. She said police were called after the captain and airport security workers asked the men to leave the plane and the men refused…
The six Muslim scholars were returning from a conference in Minneapolis of the North American Imams Federation, said Shahin, president of the group. Five of them were from Arizona, one was from Bakersfield, California, he said.
Three of them stood and said their normal evening prayers together on the plane, Shahin said.
CAIR’s promising a formal complaint in the morning to protest law enforcement’s inexplicable suspicions about a group of men onboard a commercial flight rising out of their seats in tandem and praying to Allah.
Interesting tidbit from Lileks:
According to the TV, the men said they were in town for “a religious conference.” Interesting. I was talking today with a guy I know; he’d been at a suburban hotel for an annual company sales meeting. The regional manager was having a difficult time speaking, since the party in the next conference room was praying about as loudly as is humanly possible, and had followed the prayers with a speaker who expressed in rather . . . forceful terms the depth of Muslim oppression in America. Unless there are several Muslim religious conferences going on in Minneapolis at the moment, I’d guess that might be the one. If so, I wonder if the reported truculence of the men might have been influenced, or at least reinforced, by the speaker. Whoever he was.
I phoned the info in to the paper, as a good citizen. Wonder if there’s anything to it.
Say it: McCarthyism!
Update: This one’s a false alarm. This other one, though? Maybe not so much.
Update: See Charles’s update. Surprise.