Surprise of the year: “U.S. Muslims outraged after imams kicked off plane,” by Michael Conlon for Reuters:
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Muslim leaders expressed outrage on Tuesday after six imams were removed from a commercial airline flight in Minnesota for what they said was nothing more than trying to say evening prayers.
“They were treated like terrorists … humiliated,” said Abu Hannoud, civil rights director for the Arizona chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who said the men were taken off the US Airways flight in handcuffs.
He said the men were still trying to find a flight back to Phoenix where most are affiliated with a major mosque after the carrier refused them passage following the incident on Monday evening.
“We are concerned that crew members, passengers and security personnel may have succumbed to fear and prejudice based on stereotyping of Muslims and Islam,” added Nihad Awad, executive director of the council, in a statement from the group’s Washington headquarters.
“We call on relevant authorities to investigate whether proper procedures were followed by security personnel and members of the US Airways flight crew,” he said.
The group said the men told it they were accused of “suspicious activity,” which they believed was only their attempt to pray.
Hannoud said in an interview that the men had been attending a three-day meeting of the North American Imams Federation in the Minneapolis area “discussing how to build bridges” between Muslims and American society, and that the FBI and local police had been informed in advance about the meeting.
“They were rewarded by being treated like terrorists,” he said. “Their humiliation is really a humiliation for the entire Muslim community,” he added, and further proof that Islam phobia is a growing problem in the United States.
There is going to be more of this outrage, CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper summed up what it is all about in an earlier AP story:
“Because, unfortunately, this is a growing problem of singling out Muslims or people perceived to be Muslims at airports, and it’s one that we’ve been addressing for some time.”
Watch for efforts to criminalize searches of Muslims at airports. Nancy Pelosi will be glad to help.