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Airline Apologizes to Detained Muslim Passengers

Posted on Jan 2, 2009
AirTran plane

AirTran Airways was in damage control mode Friday after forcing nine Muslim passengers off an Orlando-bound flight at Reagan International Airport in Arlington, Va., the previous day. The travelers were detained after two other passengers reported hearing what they considered to be threatening remarks by 33-year-old Inayet Sahin as she and members of her family found their seats on the plane. Sahin and her group denied any wrongdoing, and on Friday they were considering AirTran’s conciliatory offer of a refund and a return trip home.

The Washington Post:

Officials said several other passengers overheard the conversation and became alarmed when they heard Sahin remark that sitting near the engines would not be safe in the event of an accident or explosion. Irfan and Izaz said the remark was entirely misconstrued and that the conversation was nothing more than innocuous banter.

“The conversation we were having was the conversation anyone would have,” Irfan said of his sister-in-law in a telephone interview from Florida today. “She did not use the word bomb, she did not use the word explosion. She said it would not be safe to sit next to the engines in the event of an accident.”

The three were traveling with six others: Irfan’s brother, Kashif, 34; Kashif’s three boys, ages 7, 4 and 2; Sahin’s sister; and a family friend. All but one are U.S.-born citizens, but Kashif Irfan said he and the others think they were profiled at least in part because of their appearance. He said three of the six adults in the party are of Pakistani descent, two are of Turkish descent and one is African American. He also said they have a traditionally Muslim appearance, with the men wearing beards and the women in head scarves.

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By blog dog, January 5, 2009 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

RE: So who’s worse…..bin Laden or Bush?

Hard to say, in their respective roles: rich asset and useful fool; both blew it.

Shortly after 9/11, and after the phony bin Laden video was soundly debunked,  the presumed real bin Laden, issued a press release, stating that he had nothing to do with 9/11. He didn’t come out and finger the “19” as patsies, but he contributed to speculation about his “legend,” certainly disturbing to his handlers and risky to his life. Also, shortly before her assassination, Benazir Bhutto asserted in an interview with David Frost that bin Laden had been murdered by Omar Sheikh, whom the Sunday Times once described as “no ordinary terrorist but a man who has connections that reach high into Pakistan’s military and intelligence elite and into the innermost circles” of bin Laden and al-Qaeda, further confirming the CIA/ISI/al-Queda nexus.

Bush, for his part, let slip that he’d seen on a TV monitor the first plane hit the WTC, while waiting to go into the class room to read “My Pet Goat.” Recall his joking, “I thought: That’s one lousy pilot.” Of course viewing that broadcast in real time was impossible. The only way would have been if the TV was on a closed, top-secret circuit, taking a feed from a camera poised to shoot the attack. The Naudet brothers’ video did not air until the next day. Bush also confirmed, in a CBS interview sometime later, the “Angle is Next” threat, that reveals the heart of the 9/11 coup. Bush followed instructions on 9/11, but blew the cover-up.

The MSM has, of course, dutifully ignored, played down and failed to follow up. All of the above-cited facts should have led to serious investigations. Actually it did, but only by leading researchers around the 9/11 Truth Movement, which is vigorously maligned by the establishment, even though the 9/11 coup is an open secret in corridors of power the world over.

So the question remains: ...who’s the worst actor bin Laden or Bush?

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By Vaughn, January 4, 2009 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Steve Rogers needs to get his head out of his ass. Americans have killed well over 100,000 muslims since 9/11 who didn’t have a goddamn thing to do with Sept. 11.

We’ve invaded and occupied two countries as a result of a president who is just about as ignorant as you.

What about Osamba bin Laden? We’ve killed hundreds of thousands of the wrong muslims, but still haven’t killed the right one.

So who’s worse…..bin Laden or Bush?

Bush needs to be tried for war crimes and summarily executed. It doesn’t take political scientist to figure this one out.

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By Folktruther, January 4, 2009 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

Blog dog—you have an interesting way of testing the system.  You’ve got to be careful, thought, because now there are more a million names on the NO FLY list and they don’t reomve names.

Massad didn’t CREATE Hamas, but supported them as a counter weight to the PLO, since it began as a charity support group.  In the same way the Czarist secret service originally supported marxists over the terrorist group People’s Will.  In the same way that the CIA funded pseudo-progressives groups that were anti-communist and anti-marxist during the Cold War, intelligence agencies always play one group against another and support what they consider the least effective one.  They are still doing it of course.

Purple Girl—I happen to be an Old White Man although, as Tony Wicker pointed out,  I am immature for my age.  I suggest that holding all of us responsible for a despotism that many of us oppose is counter productive.  Especially as some of us are wholly in favor of purple girls.

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By Purple Girl, January 4, 2009 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

Far more crimes and Global destruction has been by the hands of ‘Boomer’ white men than any other Demographic. Boomers have had a run of it for about 20 yrs..And look what they have done to JUST Our country! How many economic ‘collapses’ have occured under their Watch? how many back room deals have come back to bite US in the Ass which were begun in the Boon of the ‘80’s? How many white collar Criminals have gotten away with leaving others Jobless and destitute when the gutted the Companies they headed?
The widespread Global Economic meltdown should place Old White men at the top of the Terrorist list, not to mention the number of Blood for Profits ventures they have instigated over the last few decades.
Being a ‘Lil sis’ to the Boomer Generation, I am Elated their beginning to fade away from postions of power…Good Riddance!

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By cyrena, January 4, 2009 at 1:13 am Link to this comment

re:95flhtcu, January 3 at 11:54 am #

“If you at least ‘appear’ to be a WASP traveling the nation’s airways, you’re not likely to encounter any problems.” Uh, no. That’s not how it works. I look like a WASP and I was hounded at the airport until the day I showed up and was told I can’t fly. As long as we have a “no fly list” NOONE is immune.”
Well 95, I said ‘not likely’ to encounter any problems, but maybe I should have been far clearer…for every fat white guy with a baseball cap and a beer gut that gets stopped, 100 Muslims are strip searched. Is that better? The claim is that ‘they’ could be ‘hiding’ something under their headware or tunics. Presumably there’s no way that fat bald-headed white guys in baseball caps could be ‘hiding’ anything under their caps or the blubber.
As for the infamous ‘no fly list’, welcome to the club. There are over a million names on the list now, (so yeah, guess they couldn’t make ALL of them Muslims, now could they?) including mine…at least 6 times. Might be even more now…I haven’t checked since 2005, since there seems little reason to bother. My hyphenated last name seems to shout NORTH AFRICAN ISLAMIC TERRORIST, no matter that I’m a Native-African American from California, just as 6 other generations of my ancestors before me. Fortunately, (or maybe not) the multiple entry of my name on this ‘list’ has never prevented me from flying, seeing as how they DON’T EVEN LOOK AT IT for domestic travel.

So, 95, it’s very curious what happened to you. Just out of curiosity, did ‘they’ tell you WHY you are now on their ‘no fly list’? You mentioned that they ‘hounded’ you for a while, and then the last time you showed up, you discovered that you were on their ‘no fly list’. Gee, was it something you said? Had you considered alternative transportation after the ‘hounding’? Like maybe a TRAIN?

I dunno. Seems like maybe you should hook-up with blog dog from now on when you travel. He says he MAKES IT A POINT, to tell the TSA guys some sort of ‘joke’, (like EXACTLY what is requested that you we NOT do, for what have become the obvious reasons…so many flippin’ crackpots running around) and claims that they almost always ‘laugh’, and he’s never detained or otherwise denied boarding as a result of his antics. So, maybe you should hang with him.

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By cyrena, January 3, 2009 at 7:32 pm Link to this comment

ah nrobi, this is INDEED the crux of the matter!! And, you put it SOOOO well. I’m sharing your post with my former colleagues.(the unfortunate few who are still in the racket. They’re ALL crazy by now)

•  “Now to the crux of the matter, we are completely surrounded by the worst of the lot of hyper-vigilant,extremely caustic and socially unacceptable people who work for an organization that is supposed to be the forefront of watchfulness against the terrorist threat. The Transportation Safety Administration, is a bunch of idiots that could not distinguish a bomb from a baby bottle filled with mother’s milk.”

You got it all right. The HYPER-vigilant who wouldn’t know a bomb if it bit ‘em on the ass.
What they did to the Washington Nine was awful, but they’ve actually done far worse.

Here’s what they did to the Muslim Scholars at MSP. (MSP is particularly hard on Muslims).

Then, here’s the man they shot dead on a MIA jetbridge, claiming that HE said he had a bomb. NOBODY ELSE on the airplane heard the man say that he had a bomb, INCLUDING airline personnel. Even a dimwitted airline employee would have known better, since the man had been through multiple layers of security at his origin, and again in MIA. But this was the Feds that shot him.

And here’s a story about the woman who farted. They landed the aircraft, took all of the passengers off, did the ‘security’ thing, and then took off again, with all of the passengers except HER. Yep, just left her stinky butt at the gate.

And here we have the MIT student who was NEARLY shot dead at Logan. The news reports (ALL mainstream news) claim that SHE had a ‘bomb’ on her shirt. (They love the ‘bomb’ word). In reality, she was wearing a shirt that had been a project for career day, and it was a CIRCUIT BOARD and some other stuff on the shirt. She’d managed to wear it on the subway, with no undue attention from anyone. It was only when she walked up to the INFORMATION booth, to ask the POLICE OFFICER standing there for gate information, that he noticed her shirt. He asked about it, and she responded, and walked away. By the time she got back outside, she was surrounded by snipers. (but they didn’t shoot that time – lucky lady)

Now here’s a much better one. This happens quite frequently of course, but not usually with these results:

He got $400,000. smackeroos. Or, at least the jury awarded him the smackeroos. It’s highly unlikely that this airline has paid the settlement. (This airline didn’t even want to release final paychecks to the widows of the dead pilots. BECAUSE…according to them, “these pilots had not finished their trips”, and those are just the rules. Yep, those are the rules. Aside from a relatively small ‘base pay’ Pilots are only paid for the hours they actually fly, so American wasn’t gonna pay them for a full trip when they were murdered right at the beginning of it, thereby failing to complete their assigned flight schedule.

Oh yeah…this is the SAME airline that received the BULK of BOTH the bailouts we provided for the commercial airline industry after 9/11, and they are the same airline that fired more employees than ALL of the other airlines combined. (tens of thousands in the months immediately following 9/11, at the same time they were collecting the big bailout bucks.

Those are just a few of the more drastic tales that come to mind, but of course there have been others, thanks to the created hyper-Islamaphobia.

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By steve rogers, January 3, 2009 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Give me a break what a bunch of whine boxes .what do they except if I remember it was mulims that killed over three thousand americans they are lucky .tell them to go back to their country a complain see what happens.

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By Wm Sledge, January 3, 2009 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you have funny feelings about Muslim looking people
you are not alone.  The brainwashing has been going on since the time of the Crusades.  More recently since shortly after the second war, what with the misbegotten idea of establishing Israel at the expense of Palestine, since then the brainwashing has been relentless.  So, of course we might all have funny feelings.  This brainwashing is even embedded in the Walt Disney cartoons I used to watch when I was kid.  This has been become extremely cruel and is beginning to dwarf the holocaust in severity and in how long it has been going on, after all the holocaust was over in just a few years.

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By 95flhtcu, January 3, 2009 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment

“If you at least ‘appear’ to be a WASP traveling the nation’s airways, you’re not likely to encounter any problems.” Uh, no. That’s not how it works. I look like a WASP and I was hounded at the airport until the day I showed up and was told I can’t fly. As long as we have a “no fly list” NOONE is immune.

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By nrobi, January 3, 2009 at 8:32 am Link to this comment

re: Blog Dog & Hippy Pam, there is no reason to smack anyone down, in this day and age of super-paranoia and hyper-vigilance because of the psychological warfare being foisted upon the American people by the government and the neo-conservative shit-for-brains; we have to be vigilant. But with vigilance must come common sense, there must be mercy tempered with justice.
Cyrena, you are exactly correct in that no terroristic threats and occurrences have happened on, or starting from American soil since the 1970’s. Yes there were a few hijackings to Cuba and other countries, but no murders or violent occurrences started as a result of terrorism beginning in the US.
Now to the crux of the matter, we are completely surrounded by the worst of the lot of hyper-vigilant,
extremely caustic and socially unacceptable people who work for an organization that is supposed to be the forefront of watchfulness against the terrorist threat. The Transportation Safety Administration, is a bunch of idiots that could not distinguish a bomb from a baby bottle filled with mother’s milk.
The Washington Nine, including the children, are the recipients of the worst kind of prejudice and profiling.  The kind that says, because you are different and look different, we have to remove you from our plane and search you for weapons and bombs, so that the other passengers can remain safe and get to their destinations without harm.
I personally deplore this kind of racist and bigoted attitude beyond words. There is no reason in the whole wide world that the Washington Nine should have been pulled off that plane by AirTrans and searched like common criminals. All this on the suspicion of an anonymous tip from a passenger that remains anonymous to this date.
Should the Washington Nine sue? Absolutely! Will they win?  Absolutely!
We the people must demand change from the governmental bodies that protect the airways and roadways. We are the change that is going to happen, not the president-elect, not the cabinet he has chosen, We the people, pushing for momentous and absolute change.
Fear, magnified to this degree, is not only stagnating, but it causes people to see things that are not really there, much like when we were children, and the shadows on the wall, became “monsters,” and boogey-men. Monsters in the closet, monsters everywhere, once the lights were turned out.
We cannot depend on the government to make this kind of monumental change, it must come from the grass roots of society, it must be demanded of our legislators and elected representatives.  Otherwise we will continue in the same vein as we have for the past eight years, fearful and stagnant.
Yes, there was a conspiracy to bomb the World Trade Center, but it was not two planes, neither was the Pentagon hit by a 757, both were the plans of the neo-conservative government that made these atrocities happen.  For the record look at YouTube and type in the Pentagon, and 9/11 and you will see the truth about all of the events that day.
Hopefully someone will read this piece and comment on the fact that I am among the many that do not believe that we are at war with a man or men, called Al-Qaeda, but we are at war with our own government, a government which is run by the corporatocracy and in cahoots with the neo-cons, who wish an autocratic and authoritarian state that quashes dissent and does not allow protest and other forms of people’s voices to be heard.  If you do not believe me, check out House Resolution 1955, sponsored by Rep. Jane Harmon,(Rep.) California.
The end of this “Grand Experiment” is coming unless we stop the elite and corporate thieves who have taken over this country.  Do Not remain silent, speak your mind and commit to action that will change the hearts and minds of your elected representatives.

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By cyrena, January 3, 2009 at 7:23 am Link to this comment

y hippy pam, January 3 at 5:21 am #

What IF??..........There HAD been a BOMB?????I remember the A.M. of 9-11…....If there had been more vigilance?????MAYBE it would NOT HAVE HAPPENED….


Sorry Hippy Pam, but lack of vigilance wasn’t the reason for 9/11. There were no BOMBS on the airplanes that were involved in 9/11, and 9/11 happened because that’s what Cheney wanted and PLANNED for.

As for people discussing the ‘safest place’ to sit on an airplane, you’ve only proven that you don’t fly. That’s a good thing. About a year ago, a passenger was kicked off of an American Eagle flight for FARTING. She was white, and obviously a greater security threat than these folks were.

And it’s NOT ‘unfortunate’ that these folks were discussing the safest place to sit, since airline passengers have been doing that for as long as airplanes have been flying them. It’s ‘unfortunate’ that they appeared to be Muslims having that conversation, and that an ignorant person heard them. I mean, that’s the only reason it would have SCARED -YOU- right?

(I know, I know…it’s that elephant memory of mine that remembers your similar racist comments about Black Youth in your area - everything takes on a different tone with you, dependent on the color/ethnicity whomever is doing the action.)

So, here’s your assignment…find out when the last time was that a BOMB was discovered on any aircraft that originated on US soil. After you come up empty, check for other aviation related ‘terrorist’ incidents that originated on US soil.

Yep, you’ll come up empty there as well. There HAVE been a few, but since they were suicide missions performed by ‘lone crackpots’ (in one case a former airline employee) your ‘vigilance’ suggestion would not have helped.

No, the record is well documented, and it tells us that airline transportation security has worked quite well before 9/11, and there’s no reason to believe that it STOPPED working on 9/11. That means that none of the passengers on those aircraft would have been allowed to board with ANY type of ‘weapons’ in their possession. Not 19 so-called ‘high-jackers’ on four different flights, and not with box cutters, bombs, or snakes that dance.

It’s just those farters that we have such a hard time monitoring at the checkpoints. How can we “know” that they might let one loose at 33 thousand feet, and then light a match to cover the smell? Maybe more ‘vigilance’ is needed there, but I’ll let you have that job. Let us know how you plan to ‘screen’ them.

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By hippy pam, January 3, 2009 at 6:21 am Link to this comment

What IF??..........There HAD been a BOMB?????I remember the A.M. of 9-11…....If there had been more vigilance?????MAYBE it would NOT HAVE HAPPENED….I also see THESE FOLKS SIDE OF THE SITUATION….“they are just regular people” is what the woman stated on the interview…...unfortunatly-these REGULAR PEOPLE were discussing where the seating was SAFEST….And -to some people that could be SCAREY….I know-in my neighborhood-when you hear the kids talking about GUNS-YOU BETTER TAKE COVER….

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By cyrena, January 3, 2009 at 4:37 am Link to this comment

No blog dog, no reason for me to smack you down, even if I could. (I wouldn’t). It’s probably not at all surprising that you haven’t been chastised or otherwise ‘punished’ for anything you might say to the TSA peeps these days. It’s all a matter of the luck of the draw, and WHO you happen to be. If you at least ‘appear’ to be a WASP traveling the nation’s airways, you’re not likely to encounter any problems. Maybe the psych-op wasn’t intended for you. It’s these Muslims and people of color who are routinely shot dead (the guy in Miami) or otherwise harassed beyond belief by the Federal government.
I hadn’t even considered the outrage in MSP to be a ‘psych-op’, just like I didn’t see that when the Air Marshalls shot the guy dead on a jet-bridge in MIA, just like I didn’t when they almost shot the MIT student at Boston’s Logan Airport. I never quite ‘see’ it that way, and it could be because I’ve spent the majority of my adult life PRIOR to 9/11 in those airports and so many others, even outside of the 50 hours a week that I was paid to be there. So yep, I could have told you the same thing the TSA guy said about what is dangerous (or not) on an airplane. Liquid isn’t, but those guns the Feds tote sure is, not to mention the moron passengers that ‘report’ their delusional paranoia’s, only to have obviously ignorant airline personnel follow up with the ignorance.

When will they stop? Apparently never. Is that what you mean about the psych-ops? You might be right of course. And, now that I think about it, it might just have worked ON ME! I stopped traveling by air about 6 years ago now, at least when I had other options…specifically the train. In a word, I’ve just been too traumatized by what has taken place in my old industry. The final straw for me was when they shot the guy dead in Miami, and that was even BEFORE they came up with these so-called “Behavior Detection Officers.”

So, if it was a psych-op, (just as 9/11 was) then I guess it worked on me. My experience in the trenches long ago informed me of the public’s ignorance, but back in those days, the ‘official’s’ were expected to exercise good sense. We obviously DID, since we’ve not had any issues with ‘airplane terrorists’ on the domestic side of the operation for decades. (In more than 27 years, I only had to deny boarding/passage to ONE person, based on a security related issue.)

In other words, until 9/11, the security arrangements utilized by the airline industry were obviously very quite effective, and they didn’t require that the passengers throw away their bottled water, or strip naked at the checkpoints. Nope, not even ones that appeared to be Muslim.

So maybe the very intentionally CREATED Islamophobia brought to us by our current Terrorist Regime in the White House will finally die with them, but I’m not holding my breath. Terrorists like the Cheney Thugs rely on these ‘psych-ops’ to control with the raw and naked force of power that they use, and there will always be plenty of bigots glad to buy it all, lock, stock, and barrel.

That’s why Emma Goldman was right, “Ignorance is the most violent element of society”.

Meantime, these Muslim passengers may have been perfectly reasonable in their concerns about the safety of sitting near the engines of the aircraft. Just depends on the configuration of the plane. Most of the time, these ‘over the wing engines seats’ allow for extra leg room, and of course you get to be the first one out in the event of an emergency.

But, they may not have known that…especially the 2 year old and the 7-year old.

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By blog dog, January 2, 2009 at 11:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I know you’re gonna smack me down for this Cyrena, and that’s OK. But, re: “...the group of Muslim Scholars just over 2 years ago…” that never struck me as anything other than a psy-op.

This incident seems like innocent paranoia. Of course, it’s the result of all the color-code, be-very-afraid reinforcement - part of the larger extended psy-op, spin-out from the 9/11 coup.

Every time I fly, I make a point of joking with one of the TSA folks about how if any WMD go off anywhere, don’t look for the author of the op. in a cave in the Hindu Kush; look in the one beneath the Naval Observatory. Believe it or not, they nearly always laugh; never once have I been threatened with detention or even warned about joking around like that.

I also make a point to mention, as I chug the remaining ounce or two from my plastic water bottle at the X-ray line, that an expert British bomb expert is on record, stating that the sorts of liquid bombs, from which the “liquid proscriptions” are supposed to protect us, simply cannot be made outside a laboratory, and in any other than sub-zero conditions - impossible! They just laugh and shrug. I guess they feel lucky to have a job.

Waddaya think, are our compatriots ever gonna get enough of this crap? Or, is it like in Nineteen-Eighty-Four, where Julia suggests that the rocket bombs that land on London are launched by the Party from other parts of Oceania…and everyone buys it and keeps buying it. If you noticed, about the first Qassam missiles out of Gaza, that sparked the current wave of carnage, an Hamas spokesman said on NPR that were launched by Mossad provocateurs.

Moreover, Hamas is a Creation of Mossad

Article by Hassane Zerouky

Global Outlook, No 2, Summer 2002  23 March 2004
The URL of this article is:

Thanks to the Mossad, Israel’s “Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks”, the Hamas was allowed to reinforce its presence in the occupied territories. Meanwhile, Arafat’s Fatah Movement for National Liberation as well as the Palestinian Left were subjected to the most brutal form of repression and intimidation

Let us not forget that it was Israel, which in fact created Hamas. According to Zeev Sternell, historian at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, “Israel thought that it was a smart ploy to push the Islamists against the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO)”.

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By Guenter Heyes, January 2, 2009 at 11:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Also it is (At least in all Canadian Airports) posted that “Any” comment on terrorism, or words as “explosions” and the likes spoken on the airport premises can be considered a “threat” and lead to an arrest, the situation is a bit over reaction.
I foremost agree with the poster above about suing, not the airline, but the person that made the complaint.
What has become an almost typical “American” behavior is the jump to unchecked vigilantism. There has to be a common sense in all this. Both on the side of security as well on the part of the travelers. One has to consider it as a bit a more expanded situation of not yelling Fire in a crowded theater. Especially in air travel with so many cultures and languages present, misunderstandings can happen easily. So travelers also have to be aware that the word “terrorism” alone is not the only cause for alarm. Words as “explosion, bomb, covert actions” and much more are included in these key words that someone overhearing might misinterpret. This is why I do not discuss war events or political events that include above mentioned words in airports or crowded public places. Too many people freak out on this.
However what is needed is a firm slap on the fingers to those who “rat” just because they fail to think.
In Europe it is quite normal that any false accusation made by someone against someone else is an accusation that bites the accuser back quite severely.
The common North American (USA & Canada) statement by Law Enforcement “We have a complaint…” is invalid in Europe. “Someone” has a name, an address and a legal obligation, and what ever he or she says against someone else, he or she better be able to stand up for.
If people would know that the law can bite back at them, maybe such incidents will not happen in future.

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By cyrena, January 2, 2009 at 10:36 pm Link to this comment

When I read this headline, I ‘assumed’ that US Airways was FINALLY getting around to making the required apologies for what they did to the group of Muslim Scholars just over 2 years ago at Thanksgiving in the Minneapolis-St. Paul. On THAT occasion, another passenger had observed one of them PRAYING, and ‘reported’ it to an airline employee.

Now THIS!! It’s disgusting beyond belief.

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By Ib, January 2, 2009 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If I were them I SUE the airline for 90 million dollars- 10 for each family member
then the same to the terribly intelligent person or persons who made the report
Maybe this will teach them a lesson to think before they speak

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