Islamaphobia, the exit is over here

Inspired by The Washington Post article “Muslim couple says they were kicked off Delta flight for using phone, saying ‘Allah’

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with all of us? Why are we all so afraid of each other?

A muslim couple, American citizens for 16 years, were singled out on their return flight from France to Ohio, USA because she was wearing a scarf and using a phone and he was sweating. Others heard them say “Allah” while seated. Trying to put myself into the shoes of the flight crew that reported this to the pilot is an impossible task for me. I can’t even begin to start forming thoughts that could justify the flight crew persons motivation for making this report to the pilot. Then, the fact the pilot forced them off the flight or he wouldn’t take off just added more fuel to the racist and bigoted profiling that had already taken place.

The rhetoric is already at a feverish level causing everyone to revert to thinking “with the crowd” instead of relying on their own, much more logical individual thinking. The article doesn’t indicate it, but I can be sure that most of the flights passengers were siding with the flight crew as they watch the couple being taken off the plane. They were probably thinking things like “Another terrorist is caught”, “I’m glad they’re not on *my* flight”, “They should have stayed in their own country.” What is apalling and absolutely disgusting is that it was their appearance and only their appearance that prompted the crews actions. The pilot didn’t even see the couple, they were going by the report from the flight crew only.

I’ve been on a lot of flights in the last several years. I can honestly say that until the flight takes off, I’m usually quite uncomfortable and sweating because a plane on the ground is warm inside. The difference here is that I’m not sitting with someone in a scarf, using a mobile phone, and saying “Allah”; I’m also not Muslim “looking”. I’ve been on flights where people pray before the plane takes off and pray again before the plane lands, it’s certainly not out of the ordinary. One particular flight I was sitting next to a devout Jewish Rabbi that prayed in the middle of the plane for over an hour during the six hour flight. Although that seemed to be like a bit of overkill, it wasn’t certainly anything I would report him for doing. In fact, I was slightly relieved he was doing this as it gave the flight a better chance of not crashing, every little bit helps for a guy that doesn’t like flying.

Shame on the flight crew and any of the passengers that fed into this fear that this couple were indeed terrorists. Shame on the pilot for blindly taking the flight crews report without first asking a few questions of the couple before dismissing it as ridiculous racism. Yes, I may have a broad “trust first, ask questions later” attitude, but I’m so exhausted with stories like this. People have to choose to not be racist and see the good in people until proven otherwise. The majority of people want to do the right thing but choose to ignore that due to their circumstances. It takes one person, one action, to cause someone to question their actions and be given the choice to do the right thing. If I was in a situation where I tried to accept the other person and offer the opportunity for them to do the right thing and they choose wrong, I won’t be afraid or hate them becuase *I* did the right thing.

I choose to do the right thing, always, regardless of the consequences to myself.