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

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.