Muslim Family Kicked Off Of Plane

3 Jan

According to an AOL News article that I read earlier, a Muslim family was unreasonably kicked off of a Airtran plane, and refused the right to rebook their flight to Orlando, Fla., where they would visit family and attend a religious conference. Apparently, the family’s conversation – which one of the ousted customers insisted was about the safest location on the plane, but didn’t include key words like “bomb,” “terror” or “explosion” – scared other passengers on the plane. FBI officials investigated the family, cleared their names of any wrongdoing, and insisted that the family be put back on the plane. But airline officials refused to rebook a flight, and according to the family member cited earlier, they were told they can’t ever fly on any of their planes again.

As far as the family being investigated because of their Muslim faith and their conversation about the plane’s safety, I’m uncertain about how I feel. We (should) all know that the majority of Muslims aren’t terrorists, and that they’ve had to go through hell ever since the Sept. 11 attacks. Hell, President Elect Obama being rumored as a Muslim was used as reason to not vote for him. And whenever someone is accused of something like this and they’re found innocent, then it always sucks in retrospect. But I also understand that 9/11 was a situation that hurt a lot of people, and considering how the situation – and terrorism in general – was/is handled by certain media outlets and political figures, people are going to be creeped out by Muslims talking about safety on a plane. The airline’s job is to give their customers a comfortable experience, and if passengers and people on the bus found them suspicious, then they’re going to get checked out.

I don’t know if I justify the investigation, but I understand it and I treat it differently than a case of what I would consider as Jim Crow racism. But either way, if the family was checked out and found innocent of any wrongdoing, they should be able to either get back on the plane, or get another flight scheduled later on. After all, they did what they were supposed to: they copped their tickets just like everybody else, and they passed the initial security tests like everybody else.

The most telling part of the story, in my opinion, is Airtran’s response:

“AirTran Airways complied with all TSA, law enforcement and Homeland Security directives and had no discretion in the matter,” the company said in a prepared statement.

The FBI and Homeland Security offering different solutions is what makes this situation really upsetting, to me. The fact that one federal organization can give them clearance, but that the airline itself cited national law in their reaction just shows how much of a revolving door discrimination can be. Fucked up way to start off the new year. Electing Obama is a step in the right direction, but clearly, we’ve got a long way to go.

What do you guys think?

UPDATE: Apparently, AirTran has apologized to the family, refunded their tickets, and offered to fly them back to Washington for free. And the head of the family said all along that all he wanted was an apology, so I guess he came out with what he wanted, somewhat. To read the article, CLICK HERE. To read AirTran’s statement, CLICK HERE.

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7 Responses to “Muslim Family Kicked Off Of Plane”

  1. sweeneykovar January 3, 2009 at 5:20 am #

    man this is ridiculous. so because of the general ignorance and intolerance this country promotes, a family can’t speak in their native language? i don’t see how the airline was justified in any way. this shit is paranoia

  2. ketchums January 3, 2009 at 5:39 am #

    Ah, see I understood differently. I didn’t see anywhere in the story that said they were speaking in their native language, so I assumed that they were talking about the issue of which location was safest in plain English.

    Like I said, I don’t necessarily justify it, but I understand why they were investigated in the first place. But as far as not even rebooking them, that’s absolute horseshit.

  3. sweeneykovar January 3, 2009 at 6:19 am #

    hmm. maybe i misunderstood, i thought they were speaking a foreign language and fools got scurred. hmmm, its not 100% clear.

  4. philhy January 3, 2009 at 1:58 pm #

    This is messed up I read about this the other day I think its mad unfair and its plain out discrimination If it was any other race talking bout whats the safest seat on the plane there would be no problem and they should have been rebooked. But on another note in 60’s and before that when Blacks were being treated unfairly there were things you knew not to do not saying its right or wrong but if you know there’s all these stereotypes there’s just things you don’t do. Like I’m not gonna walk in a store and say man If this place got robbed I would hide right there cause 20 seconds later there would be a nightstick in my head (pause). I still say its wrong as heck but it was preventable to a certain degree

  5. bananaclipse January 4, 2009 at 12:19 pm #

    this is BS. first of all something like 90% of “terrorism” in the US is committed by US citizens. 2ndly 9/11 is another excuse to violate people’s rights. it was atrocious but this only aids in discrimination of a certain type of people. I’ve heard people talking about the safeest place to sit before, but if they look different and have a burka they’re terrorists? SHENANIGANS. not to mention the fuckery of them being cleared and still not allowed to fly. I smell a lawsuit

  6. Ketchums January 4, 2009 at 1:32 pm #

    Yeah I mean, I agree that it’s fucked up either way that they’d even be questioned, esp. considering that they were found clear of any wrongdoing. But I’m also saying that I have a sense of understanding as to why it happened.

    Example: A few years ago, I had went to my car, in a parking lot at MSU that was across the street from a dorm. But, I had accidentally left my keys on the bus on my way over there. So I got to my car, looked in my pockets, put my bag on top of the car, looked through that, checked my pockets again, then retraced my steps through the parking lot. By the time I got back across the street, there were like four cop cars waiting for me – apparently, someone saw me and thought I was trying to steal my own car. Now I was pissed, and it was pure bullshit imo…but when I look back, I can understand why they thought I was sketchy. I disagreed with it – I thought that me retracing my steps instead of walking straight back was the tell-all with that – but I understood.

    So I can understand why people were afraid, and why they were questioned, despite me not justifying it. But the fact that they didn’t even try to rectify it once they realized they were wrong is preposterous.

  7. ketchums January 4, 2009 at 1:45 pm #

    UPDATE: Apparently, AirTran has apologized to the family, refunded their tickets, and offered to fly them back to Washington for free. And the head of the family said all along that all he wanted was an apology, so I guess he came out with what he wanted, somewhat. To read the article, CLICK HERE. To read AirTran’s statement, CLICK HERE.

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