Wes Pruden on flying while Muslim.
Our own holy men could respect their Muslim brothers, as well as their own countries, by showing tough love instead of platitudes of one part goo and one part mush. They could explain to their Muslim brothers why they can’t always practice their rituals as Islam is practiced in Islamic countries. The incident aboard a jetliner of US Airways the other day in Minneapolis is instructive. The details are in some dispute, but what is not is that six imams — Muslim holy men — were denied boarding after they created an incident and were briefly detained. Other passengers said the imams made a row with a show of praying, punctuated with shouted slogans about how Allah and Saddam Hussein are great and the United States is not. When an airline clerk denied him boarding one imam shouted: “This prejudice. This is obvious discrimination. No one can argue with this.”
But arguing with “this” is exactly what we must do if we bring the Muslims under the fraternal umbrella — of what, in better times than these, was called “the melting pot.” The imams should be told, forcefully, that making an intimidating row of rituals is not the American way and won’t be permitted. If a half-dozen Catholic priests insist on conducting a Mass aboard an airliner, they will be told to stop it. Six Baptist preachers won’t be allowed to conduct a revival meeting amidst either the cheap or expensive seats. Jewish mohels can’t perform circumcisions aboard (even for volunteers). We don’t do things like that in America, and no apology is forthcoming.