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Overzealous AirTran Boots 9 Passengers Off 1002

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the fear-mongering-works dept.
An anonymous readerwrites "On Friday the wonderfully customer centric AirTran decided to remove a family of 9 US born Muslims after a comment between two family members regarding how close to the Jet engine they had been seated. The wonderful part is that after the FBI cleared the family 2 hours later, AirTran refused to fly the family, and refused to rebook them on their way from Washington to Orlando, Florida. The family purchased additional tickets on US Airways later that day, after AirTran requested that the irate father be escorted from their booking podiums by security. This whole story highlights the pathetic customer service we are getting from the Airlines these days — they actually treat us like criminals first and ask questions later. Just don't get me started on Delta." It's nice to see that stupidity still knows no bounds.
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Overzealous AirTran Boots 9 Passengers Off

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  • US born (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RockMFR (1022315) on Friday January 02, 2009 @05:44PM (#26305411)
    I'm glad the summary specifies that they were born in the US. Because otherwise it would be okay to treat them like dirt, right?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 02, 2009 @05:44PM (#26305413)

    The only reason not wanting to fly next to the engine is a "security issue" is BECAUSE they were Muslim. If anyone else brought it up, the attendant would have sold them earplugs for $5.

  • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Friday January 02, 2009 @05:47PM (#26305463)
    It just shows how much of what we go through is security theater. If they were really secure harmless comments about the engines or even bombs wouldn't matter as you couldn't get one on anyway. It's like signs at malls saying "no guns". Like some nutjob is going to see that and decide not to go kill a bunch of people. Real terrorists aren't going to make jokes.
  • Discrimination (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Friday January 02, 2009 @05:49PM (#26305477) Homepage

    Laissez-faire types will hate me for suggesting this, but this is exactly the sort of thing that should lead to anti-discrimination lawsuits. We make a big deal out of prohibiting racial discrimination in employment and housing, so why not in transportation? It's because Muslims are all terrorists... innit?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 02, 2009 @05:49PM (#26305485)

    ..that the "real terrorists" didn't succeed in their plots to "terrorize" Americans.

  • by Ma8thew (861741) on Friday January 02, 2009 @05:51PM (#26305509)
    I bet the xenophobic idiot who reported their 'suspicious comments' is pleased with themselves, having delayed their flight by 2 hours.
  • Airtran Blows (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maz2331 (1104901) on Friday January 02, 2009 @05:57PM (#26305591)

    My experience with AirTran was the worst flight I've ever been on. Bastards left us stranded in Atlanta for 8 hours.

    I'd never fly on that airline again even if the ticket was free.

  • by corsec67 (627446) on Friday January 02, 2009 @05:57PM (#26305599) Homepage Journal

    It's like signs at malls saying "no guns". Like some nutjob is going to see that and decide not to go kill a bunch of people. Real terrorists aren't going to make jokes.

    Those signs reduce safety. They are basically "massacre zone" signs, where someone who wants to kill people is pretty sure of getting the fewest number of people legally carrying guns.

    I wish that if a business that was open to the public wanted to post those signs, they would have to have a certain number of armed guards per square feet at all times during normal business hours. Basically, have people provide their own security, or don't allow that and pay for it.

  • by EdIII (1114411) * on Friday January 02, 2009 @05:58PM (#26305603)

    Refund has nothing to do with it. It was racism and racial profiling that got them kicked off the plane, interviewed by the FBI, their trip delayed, etc. The financial loss of the original plane tickets is nothing compared to the trauma they have had to deal with mentally.

    Let's be real honest with each other here. I mean everybody.

    1) A white family of nine people get on a plane. They are dressed in contemporary clothing. Three of the young adults make a remark about where would be the safest place to sit on the plane in the event of an accident or explosion.

    2) A brown family of nine people get on a plane. They are dressed in traditional clothing of Islamic people. Three of the young adults make a remark about where would be the safest place to sit on the plane in the event of an accident or explosion.

    Hell why not:

    3) A Chinese family of nine people get on the plane. They are dressed in clothing straight out of 1920's Shanghai. Three of the young adults in thick Chinese accents remark about where would be the safest place to sit on the plane in the event of an accident or explosion.

    The reason why other people felt uncomfortable on the plane had everything to do with the appearance of this family. Those preconceptions and stereotypes led them to interpret those remarks differently then they would have with #1 or #3.

    It was racism. Period.

  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday January 02, 2009 @05:58PM (#26305605) Homepage Journal

    It's like signs at malls saying "no guns". Like some nutjob is going to see that and decide not to go kill a bunch of people.

    In a place like the USA or Afghanistan where people do tend to carry guns, signs like that make it easier to distinguish between gun carriers who are not going to cause trouble and those who are.

  • Re:Discrimination (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 02, 2009 @05:59PM (#26305609)

    Well, Muslim-looking-people are the new "black people" when it comes to profiling. I know what it feels like, being that I'm half black and half white. It's easy for people to shrug it off when it has never happened to them. Dirty looks, being spat on, racial slurs, etc. Fortunatly my experiences turned me into the strong person that I am today.

    Hopefully those of you who are unempathetic will never have the shoe on the other foot.

  • Re:Discrimination (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ma8thew (861741) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:02PM (#26305655)
    Yeah, fuck civil rights. Black people shouldn't have made such a fuss about where they could sit on buses, they should have sucked it up and let the free market handle it.
  • by Atario (673917) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:04PM (#26305669) Homepage

    I just dread the day terrorists start pulling bombings of buses or trains or truck weigh stations or busy freeways or malls or what-have-you in the US. Because that day, all the stupidity we see in airports and airplanes will be copied into those venues too.

    Unless, of course, we as a people finally pull our heads out instead.

  • Is this legal ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bheading (467684) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:07PM (#26305701)

    I'm reasonably sure in Europe you could be sued if you refused to carry someone based on their religion or racial background - I have a feeling this is true in the US also ? If so, I hope they take this stupid airline to the cleaners. Even setting the obvious discrimination aside, there was no excuse for denying them travel given that the FBI had cleared them.

  • Re:Discrimination (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EdIII (1114411) * on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:07PM (#26305703)

    no need for government intervention or bullshit laws.

    Laws against discrimination are not unwarranted government intervention or bullshit laws.

    What you are saying is that if a corner sandwich shop put a sign up that said, "No Niggers Allowed" that it would be free market that would punish them. That is offensive and incorrect. We need laws and government enforcement to stop exactly that sort of behavior.

  • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld@gm a i l . c om> on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:12PM (#26305751)

    So let me get this straight, you get on a plane and share your opinion that you'd rather not sit next to the engine, because it's not a safe spot in an accident, and you expect to be taken off of the flight, reported to the FBI, and embarrassed by being refused to be allowed back on or to take another flight later on despite the fact that you've been screened a second time and cleared by the FBI.

    That, according to you, is a level headed response? An appropriate response?

    Are you one of those folk who complain that rape victims had it coming, they should have known not to do whatever it was that caused them to catch the rapist's eye?

  • by eln (21727) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:12PM (#26305755) Homepage

    The passengers were at fault for being racists and reporting a non-issue. The airline was not at fault for handing the matter over to the FBI when the issue was reported. The FBI did the right thing by clearing the family. However, the airline WAS at fault for refusing to let the family fly on any future flight even after they had been cleared by the FBI. There's no legitimate (non-discriminatory) reason to do that given the circumstances.

    These people likely had their whole vacation planned, and this incident screwed up their plans. One article said they were going to a religious conference, and it's unlikely that conference was delayed while they tried to make other travel arrangements. On top of all of that, they were made to feel like second-class citizens simply because they were brown and Muslim.

    They have good cause for a lawsuit against the airline, and I think they should file one. I'm not talking millions of dollars here, but the airline needs to get slapped in court to make them think twice next time a situation like this crops up.

    The fact that incidents like this keep happening show that bin Laden and his cohorts succeeded beyond their wildest dreams on 9/11.

  • Re:Discrimination (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Skye16 (685048) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:13PM (#26305759)

    I donno man, I'm an atheist and had a little old grandma spit on me, too. People can be ignorant savages regardless of skin tone. If you're different than they are with something they identify strongly with, they'll turn on you no matter what.

    Bunch of savages in this town.

  • Re:Discrimination (Score:2, Insightful)

    by larry bagina (561269) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:14PM (#26305769) Journal
    It wasn't the buses (ie, the free market) that decided where black people sat, it was state law (ie, government intervention).
  • by EdIII (1114411) * on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:14PM (#26305777)

    Plus really it was passengers on the flight who started the whole thing.

    So the ignorant behavior of some passengers completely excuses the employees in the airline and airport for their behavior?

    Like that old lady on the plane in that movie about Harold and Kumar.

    Perfect example of an idiot in action. That whole scene illustrates how somebody's preconceptions and stereotypes can affect their perceptions of reality.

    The marshals on the plane should have been smart and mature enough to see through that crap after 2 minutes of talking with that family.

  • by EdIII (1114411) * on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:17PM (#26305821)

    I think your racist.

    If you choose to paint a big fat "kick me" sign on yourself
    by sticking out the most you possibly can then well you
    shouldn't be surprised if someone eventually kicks you.

    I think you just equated traditional Islamic clothing with a "big fat kick me" sign on your back.

    ANY "family of nine" is going to seem damn peculiar on an
    airline flight. It doesn't matter if it's the Brady Bunch.

    So the Brady Bunch behaving the exact same way would have been kicked off the plane, interviewed by the FBI, and denied passage later on?

    I don't think so. It was racism.

  • by un1xl0ser (575642) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:19PM (#26305849)

    At the end of the day, people got on and made comments they shouldn't have made on the airplane, and other people heard them,

    Other people heard them, misconstrued them. It just so happened these people were of Muslim faith and appearance. It escalated, it got out of hand and everyone took precautions.

    So wait, you can't talk about airport security at the airport? That's all I talk about on the airlines. After hours of waiting, being stripped of liquids for no reason, having to take of your shoes, it kind of is the elephant in the room.

    It seems likely that they were given special attention because of their appearance, accent, culture, et cetera. Personally, I'm not expecting anyone, especially the airline to admit this.

  • Wanna Be (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Samschnooks (1415697) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:20PM (#26305859)

    I bet the xenophobic idiot who reported their 'suspicious comments' is pleased with themselves, having delayed their flight by 2 hours.

    I bet it was a 9/11 hero Wanna Be who thought that he could foil a terrorist plot and get his 15 minutes of fame. Don't underestimate a person's desire to be a "hero", to feel important, and be a media whore.

  • by Achromatic1978 (916097) <robert@@@chromablue...net> on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:21PM (#26305875)
    Not sure. Then again, I remember the last several times a white anglo-saxon christian tried to attack the US government by terrorism, be it by the use of anthrax, or by blowing up Federal buildings, but hey, you say profiling works, cause those damn non-whites are a higher risk. :D
  • by Facetious (710885) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:22PM (#26305881) Journal
    Yeah! WASPs prefer Ryder trucks full of ammonium nitrate.
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:24PM (#26305927) Homepage

    If anyone is talking about a "bomb" or what have you, they should be reported. Better safe and late then dead and never arriving.

    This group never said anything about a bomb. A professional terrorist wouldn't wander down the isle speculating about the best place to put one, either. What does it say about airport security that people who have been through a thorough screening can still arouse suspicion with a casual comment? No faith in Homeland Security or the billions we're spending on airport security?

    I am constantly amazed at the level of ignorance and stupidity this country displays toward security. It's gutless and unreasoned. There are something like 1.2 billion Muslims on the planet, around 22% of the total population of the planet! We have problems with a few thousand of them. How long are we going to use 9-11 to justify continued fear and ignorance?

    Pathetic.

  • by Roberticus (1237374) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:25PM (#26305931)

    When was the last time a white anglo saxon christian tried to commandeer and/or blow up an airplane in America?

    Great point. Those guys prefer to blow up government buildings [wikipedia.org].

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:25PM (#26305937)

    This event is exactly what you could expect when you go around telling people, "If you see something, say something."

    Is this racism? Yes. However, bear in mind that you are asking EVERYONE to go out and look for suspicious activity - even people who are completely unprepared to identify it.

    Anyway, the airline has since apologized and offered to fly them back home for free, and frankly I think that the whole thing got blown out of proportion. Hell, even the family admitted that the FBI was very professional - their beef was with the girls that reported them and the stupid airline, which apparently has some really bad decision makers on the ground.

  • Re:US born (Score:2, Insightful)

    by aussie_a (778472) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:26PM (#26305957) Journal

    Unfortunately many people WOULD say its okay to treat them like this if they're foreigners. The fact that the airline would do it to an American, means that foreigners would have it even worse then this. And this is pretty goddamn awful.

  • If the law-abiding citizens enter somebody else's property with a gun against the owners wishes, I don't want to know what the criminals do.
  • Re:Discrimination (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:31PM (#26306029)

    would you go in a shop like that? if you would then, based on what you just said, you are a disgusting hypocrite.

    If you wouldn't go in that shop, then yes, that is exactly how it works... you know they are discriminating, and it's affected your choice as a consumer, you don't buy from that shop, they have lost a sale(plus all the sales from the "niggers"). If someone else opens a sandwich shop locally that caters to everyone, they will be able to offer lower cost sandwiches(because they will have more customers), eventually driving the discriminatory store out of business. It's quite simple.

  • by Vitriol+Angst (458300) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:32PM (#26306043)

    Most likely, they are told by Homeland Security policies to "respond to all complaints" no matter how ridiculous.

    AirTran would have called the authorities to report the incident. If they don't get an "all clear" back, then normal CYA procedure would dictate that they don't let the people fly. It sucks, it makes no sense, but that is probably the policy, that has been thrust upon ALL of our Airline agencies.

    Blame the thought challenged leadership for our crap-tastic security that only seems to do anything where we can see them, and does nothing where we can't.

  • by spazdor (902907) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:32PM (#26306047)

    These are law-abiding citizens.

    Except that they enter private property in direct violation of the posted conditions for entry. IANAL, but I think that makes 'em trespassers.

  • Genius! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by copponex (13876) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:35PM (#26306081) Homepage

    The slave trade was a free market, from what I can remember, and the government had to shut it down because it was still enormously profitable to capture and breed humans.

    If the free market had no rules, there would still be segregated restaurants and buses in the south. That's a big difference between democracy and fascism. One the people can change, the other only the business elite can change. Without a bloody revolution, of course...

  • by Curtman (556920) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:35PM (#26306093)

    Everywhere you look, some whacked out group of Muslims are either A) Trying to kill people or B) Are actually celebrating the killing of some people.

    You say that even now as white people in Israel slaughter innocent Palestinian people, and white people from the the U.S. and its allies slaughter innocent people in Afghanistan and Iraq. Are you trying to tell me that you haven't seen people celebrating the death and destruction in the middle east that is being done in retribution for what a few people did on 9/11? We make it sound very official, and people in suits pretend like they are making real tough decisions. At the end of the day, we killed more of them than they killed of us. We are the ones who are whacked out, and very few of us even realize it.

  • by macraig (621737) <.mark.a.craig. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:37PM (#26306111)

    Whether allowing pilots that degree of individual unrestricted discretion is a wise idea or not should probably be debated.

  • by E++99 (880734) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:39PM (#26306129) Homepage

    It had nothing to do with race. It was the comments combined with muslim attire. I bet white people with the same beards and attire would have received the same treatment.

  • Re:Discrimination (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rhizome (115711) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:39PM (#26306133) Homepage Journal

    If anybody on a plane makes a claim that a group of people are acting auspicious then they have very little choice.

    Anybody? Really? So there's no line to be drawn, can't be too safe, etc.? How about we have some First Amendment repercussions for the complainers? Certainly yelling "terrorist!" in a crowded airplane could be against the law just like "fire" in a crowded theater is.

    The complainers should be punished, and this is where the airline got it wrong: the Muslim Nine should have been let back on and the complainers gotten kicked off the plane and should have lost their fares.

  • Mulsim... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:42PM (#26306169)

    ...are the new black.

  • by EvanED (569694) <evaned@ g m ail.com> on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:44PM (#26306177)

    Anyway, the airline has since apologized and offered to fly them back home for free, and frankly I think that the whole thing got blown out of proportion.

    Though at the same time, if it was in fact blown out of proportion (which I don't quite believe), I suspect that the only reason they got their refund and apology was because it was blown out of proportion.

  • by Orange Crush (934731) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:45PM (#26306197)

    So the Brady Bunch behaving the exact same way would have been kicked off the plane, interviewed by the FBI, and denied passage later on?

    Depends. Was Peter tossing his football of death? [tv.com]

  • by bishiraver (707931) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:46PM (#26306205) Homepage

    Our intervention in the middle east over the past 200 years has bread suicide bombers who want us the fuck out of their lives. Not the religion.

    99% of all terrorist acts are committed by religions nutjobs

    Got a reference, bub?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communist_terrorism [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eco-terrorism [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationalist_terrorism [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_violence [wikipedia.org]

    There are many terrorist organizations which are not religious.

    In fact, one could argue that a majority of the religious terrorism in the middle east is actually nationalist terrorism disguised as religious extremism. If you look at the causes which drive people to the al-qaida bootcamps: oppression (by US forces or otherwise - AQ was not active in Iraq before we had a military presence there), lower standards of living, and so forth. People turn to religion when times get tough. Other people use that to twist the religion. They convince people at the end of their rope that the only thing that will make things better for them, their family, and their country is to go blow up the people fucking them over.

    The fact your PC idiots refuse to wake up from your delusional world is why we are in for a world of hurt over the next 4-8 years.

    The fact that you ignorant asshats refuse to wake up from your delusional world of hate and bigotry, and perhaps read why people hate the US instead of believing the line "because we're not muslim" is why we've had muslim terrorist attacks on this country and its consulates. Look up the term blowback.

  • Oh the ironing! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:47PM (#26306219) Homepage

    When coming back on leave from Iraq, I was flying in my ACU uniform. Being searched by a muslim TSA lady while coming through security I had to laugh at the irony.

    But I kept my mouth shut aside from a sincere "have a nice day, ma'am" when it was over. Idiocy can strike anywhere, any time, to anyone.

    Why is this on /.?

  • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld@gm a i l . c om> on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:50PM (#26306257)

    Who decided to 'pull the plane over' and kick them of? The pilot.

    Who pays the pilot? The airline.

    Who decided, once they were cleared by the FBI, that they couldn't get back on that plane? The airline.

    Who decided, once they couldn't get on that flight, that they couldn't get on any AirTran flight? The airline.

    Do I give a fuck about the other passengers or what they may or may not have started? No. The world is full of clueless twits. The difference between them and the airline's clueless twits is that they weren't the ones exerting their authority in the matter to make things worse.

  • by Newer Guy (520108) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:52PM (#26306277)

    First off, this WAS DISCRIMINATION and RACISM!...PERIOD

    Second off, NOTHING that the airlines are doing accounts to a RATS ASS at improving ANY air security. NOT THE TSA, NOT THE FBI, NOT THE AIR MARSHALLS...NOTHING!

    What HAS helped are two things: First the cabin doors are hardened and second, the pilots have to IMMEDIATELY put the plane on the ground in case of ANY hijacking or other problem!

    If these two policies wewre in place on 9/11/2001, both planes from Boston would have landed in Providence or Hartford and NOTHING would have happened to the Trade Center towers! NOTHING would have happened to the Pentagon and the plane that crashed in PA would have landed in Pittsburgh safely.

    The whole thing of 'airline security' is a money wasting bullshit facade-and the people involved take themselves WAY TOO SERIOUSLY!!

  • by oninojudo (804969) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:53PM (#26306295) Homepage
    I'm confused. Why did you call a white woman "he"?
  • by MrMr (219533) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:54PM (#26306309)
    It was racism.
    No, It was profiling. A technique that combines racial, religious, ethnic and political bigotry to increase the sense of security of the voters.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:55PM (#26306339)

    I believe this has to do with the scarf-like accessory arab women wear. I saw the family in question, and if not for the garb, they'd look like any other (minority) American. When in Rome -- stay away from the 2-buck whores, right -- but otherwise, do as the Romans.

  • by DTemp (1086779) on Friday January 02, 2009 @06:59PM (#26306379)

    Whether or not they are a race or faith or religion is debatable and semantics, and inconsequential to my point.

    And you're saying that the overall thoughts of the Muslim community in the Middle East should apply to these AMERICANS who happen to be related to them in blood only?

    Are you blaming African Americans for the various genocides going on in Africa now? They are completely removed, as are the Muslims regarding your thesis.

  • Following orders (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PontifexPrimus (576159) on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:00PM (#26306387)
    Of course it's alright! They were only following orders!
  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:02PM (#26306421)

    Where's the online aspect of this story?

    There are about 30 other news outlets that aren't nerd-oriented that are carrying this story well. What is slashdot adding by featuring it?

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:03PM (#26306433)

    Actually, it sounds like the airline gave them a refund right away. They would not have gotten an apology or a free return ticket without the publicity, however.

    I didn't mean to imply that the media was solely responsible for blowing things out of proportion - the airline had a hand in it by being completely loony. But our "see something, say something" mentality will ensure that this incident gets repeated again... I meant to downplay the uniqueness of the event more than the size of the injustice.

  • by Toonol (1057698) on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:05PM (#26306463)
    You are conflating prejudice based on race with prejudice based on culture. They're not the same thing, although there's a large amount of overlap. I think prejudice based on culture is slightly more reasonable, although still prone to much error. After all, culture affects behavior much more than race does.

    Different cultures evidently produce terrorists at different rates. That seems factual. The unresolved question seems to be, to what extent is it reasonable and ethical to subject individuals from problematic cultures to greater scrutiny? Not at all? Is there a certain line that shouldn't be crossed? Is increased scrutiny ok, so long as rights aren't violated?
  • by Hojima (1228978) on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:08PM (#26306493)

    For the record, I think that "terrorists" have seriously considered the airplane suicide bombing to be so 2001. If they were seriously thinking about killing masses of people they would go with the new trend of remote detonated car bombs. It's been "in" since the Iraq war, and there is NO security measures implemented against it (sound familiar?).

  • by couchslug (175151) on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:10PM (#26306543)

    "It was racism and racial profiling that got them kicked off the plane, "

    Muslims are not a "race". You mean ethnic and religious profiling.

  • by Terrasque (796014) on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:15PM (#26306595) Homepage Journal

    The wonderful part is that after the FBI cleared the family 2 hours later, AirTran refused to fly the family, and refused to rebook them on their way from Washington to Orlando, Florida.

    That was from the /. summary.

    So FBI checked the family, told the airline they were harmless, and airline STILL refused to let them fly.

  • I believe Airtran, and all airlines, are required to hand the matter over to the authorities if anyone reports anything suspicious or threatening, yes -- even if that report is just some over-sensitive idiot misconstruing someone's casual remark, the authorities have to get involved.

    Airtran wasn't necessarily wrong for following procedure in that. Airtran was wrong for refusing to allow the family on another flight after the FBI determined that there was nothing wrong. I cannot imagine what possible justification they had for that decision.
  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:16PM (#26306601) Homepage

    FBI agents were much too polite, merely "requesting" that the airline re-book their travel. Now they probably didn't have the authority, but they still should have *ordered* it when the airline refused.

    I think not. From TFA's, it appears that the FBI agents did everything right and didn't push ANYBODY around. They don't have legal authority to tell the airlines what to do. They seemed perfectly all right with the airline making an ass out of themselves. When you have that much power and authority, and you're in the spot light, that's exactly what you do. Put on your dark glasses and play it cool.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:17PM (#26306621)
    That's because Manchester is now an Arab country, similar to London where the national food is curry. England is a great example of how the west will subvert themselves.
  • by Eunuchswear (210685) on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:17PM (#26306627) Journal

    There are no races. "muslim" is exactly as much a race as "white" or "black".

    Or to put it another way, if there is racism, there is a "race". There is no other way of telling.

    People who like to say "hatred of x" is not racism "because 'x' is not a 'race'", well... guess.

  • by weorthe (666189) on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:24PM (#26306711)
    Because it makes perfect sense that middle-eastern terrorists would bring their wives and children aboard a plane to Orlando, and then discuss their nefarious terroristic plans with each other, for all to overhear, in English.
  • by amRadioHed (463061) on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:27PM (#26306751)

    It happens about as frequently as Muslim's trying to blow up our airplanes.

  • by pluther (647209) <pluther.usa@net> on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:30PM (#26306773) Homepage

    If you choose to paint a big fat "kick me" sign on yourself by sticking out the most you possibly can then well you shouldn't be surprised if someone eventually kicks you.

    Absolutely.

    How dare they be any different from the majority!

    And on an airplane of all places!

    Yes, it is very important that we all look, act, talk, and think exactly the same. Only then can we preserve our Freedom!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:33PM (#26306813)

    four county sheriffs show up at the restaurant.

    The irony is that nobody gives a shit about the ass-end of nowhere. This is the worst kind of target possible. It would get the kind of uncaring "do more of that please, we don't like wherever that is either" reaction from most citizens if terrorists did actually act there.

    The only people that care are local folks that are desperate to seem important. They joined the force to smash some heads, so - by god - that's what they're going to do. They live within a 10 mile radius of where they were born, so - by god - they're going to protect the waffle-house.

    Although, of course, they are several thousand times more likely to die in a car accident on the way to the scene - than encounter an actual terrorist.

    And, really, that's the entire method behind terroristic overreaction: self-absorbed idiots who are unable to effectively reason.

  • by E++99 (880734) on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:35PM (#26306839) Homepage

    But neither was the (rather large) family of Hasidic Jews that were aboard my flight from Atlanta to NYC the other day. They dressed different. They had a large family. If their kids were asking which section of the plane was safest, and if they were safe sitting next to the engine, would that have aroused suspicion? I'm guessing not.

    What's the point? If there had recently been a number of planes blown out of the sky by groups of Hasidic Jews, then the family of Hasidic Jews would CERTAINLY have aroused more suspicion. And it would be a rational bias. Just like it's a rational bias to have higher suspicion of groups of Muslims, although the vast majority will clearly have peaceable intentions. This is all part of the pattern-recognition faculty with which the human mind is gifted. Don't knock it.

    And the only report of the contents of the suspicious comments was by the people making them, explaining why they shouldn't have been construed as suspicious. We don't have the other side. The real failure here seems to be that there was apparently no intermediate level of escalation between a passenger expressing concern to the flight crew, and the pilot calling in the flight marshals to take them off the plane.

  • by RadioGuy95 (1443745) on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:43PM (#26306919)
    Unfortunately most of the security policies in place have been based on the knee-jerk reactions of the likes of TSA and FAA - remember the 2006 carry on liquids ban??? Until cooler heads prevail at these agencies (like that'll happen) we will all have to suffer the indignities they put on to us.
  • by John Pfeiffer (454131) on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:44PM (#26306941) Homepage

    I personally think the names of the people who made the complaint that got them booted off the plane to BEGIN WITH should have THEIR names made public, so they can be properly ridiculed for abject stupidity.

  • by RichardJenkins (1362463) on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:45PM (#26306957)

    Well, the Irish have been terrible terrorists in the UK over the last few decades. Still, the cahnces of a fellow being a murderer just because he's Irish are pretty low, so picking on a chap for that is a little harsh.

  • by hvm2hvm (1208954) on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:46PM (#26306971) Homepage
    Seriously, what's with that comment? Democracy seems to me a bad hypocritical joke. Do we really need to pick on each race/ethnic/religious group at a time and "free" them after years and years of degrading them and destroying their rights (if they had them in the first place)? Why do people hate others so easily? Is it the media, the propaganda, what? Just get over it, there are a lot people out there which are different than you but guess what, they mean you no harm. What the fuck is wrong with you people?

    Disclaimer: I'm not perfect by any standards and I'm not prejudice proof (I'm pretty sure I have some really 'good' ones) but outright hate against a minority, a nation, a race, or a religion is disturbing and infuriating.
  • by PunditGuy (1073446) on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:57PM (#26307137)
    A little OT, but I can't let this one go.

    Medical insurance is so expensive because an entire industry of middle men has inserted itself into the health care process. These people provide no service, but siphon off billions of dollars that could otherwise pay for care. Where I live, the head of a medical insurance company has consistently been the highest paid person in the state.

    Insurance companies are the Ticketmaster of our health care system. Enjoy those convenience fees.
  • by MillionthMonkey (240664) * on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:59PM (#26307159)
    They are basically "massacre zone" signs, where someone who wants to kill people is pretty sure of getting the fewest number of people legally carrying guns.

    Oh no, this type of argument again! "If only everyone there were armed, tsk tsk!" Because there are no unarmed psycho killers.

    Would you rather hang out in a crowd of armed citizens who can't even punch holes in ballots correctly? What makes you think they can punch holes in anything else?

    Your argument is simply not compelling; nobody is seriously going to worry about about being shot by a mentally-challenged psycho killer who is emboldened by the absence of a "NO GUNS" sign. You're probably more likely to get killed by a meteorite than a psycho killer standing near that sign. It might behoove you to keep the sign there; if a rock comes hurtling in from outer space you can rip the sign off the wall and hold it over your head for a little shielding.

  • by jjohnson (62583) on Friday January 02, 2009 @08:02PM (#26307187) Homepage

    You're absolutely right, and next time the 1.2 billion strong Muslim community gets together for its annual meeting where they discuss how to prevent any of them from acting in a way to reflects badly on the rest, it should totally be on the agenda.

  • Re:Mulsim... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by colmore (56499) on Friday January 02, 2009 @08:02PM (#26307189) Journal

    This is a US born family.

    US Born Muslims have been terrorists less frequently than Michigan rednecks. They're a middle class immigrant group very similar to Indians and Koreans. The only thing they're fanatical about is sending Ali Jr. to an Ivy and getting a Benz.

    And this is also, coincidentally, the solution to terrorism. If we lifted the sanctions on Palestine and ended the prison-like occupation of the state, it would take 15 years tops for them to start caring more about cars and TVs than God and Jews. Has anyone heard from the IRA since the Irish GDP shot up?

    Terrorism is for bored poor third worlders. Fix the third world and we fix terrorism.

    Or we could just keep killing people and maybe they'll get less desperate and angry.

  • by IHC Navistar (967161) on Friday January 02, 2009 @08:08PM (#26307275)

    Being someone who sees merit and common sense in racial profiling, even *I* think that this was complete idiocy/stupidity/lunacy (though I still can't quite communicate how enraged I feel just by typing!).

    Making a comment about how close you are to a jet engine IN NO WAY communicates ANYTHING about terroristic, hostile, or malicious intent.

    Also, being one who hates to see frivolous and baseless/remotely baseless lawsuits, I think that they family should beat AirTran into the next decade with the fattest lawsuit they can get away with.

    If I was US Airways, however, I would have given them free round-trip tickets (first class) and apologized for the inconvenience caused by AirTran, even though it wasn't my doing.

    How stupid does a captain have to be to:

    a) Feel so threatened that he has to kick a family of 9 off the plane,

    b) Keep them off the plane even after the *FBI* tells them there is absolutely no problem.

    If I was the FBI supervisor in charge, I would have yelled to the pilot how much of an idiot he was, in full view of the other passengers.

  • by mdwh2 (535323) on Friday January 02, 2009 @08:17PM (#26307361) Journal

    The crucial difference is between changing your own behaviour, and forcing someone else to change theirs. Stereotyping others in order to change your behaviour is fine. If those passengers had chosen to get off the planes themselves because they feared the Muslims were terrorists, then I doubt anyone would be criticising them. But no, because they expect other people to have their lives disrupted based on their prejudices, that's a very different thing, and it's fair game to criticise them.

    This also isn't anything to do with any supposed race vs. culture distinction - it's still reasonable to stereotype in the way you describe based on race (or sex, come to that), but again crosses the line when you force others to do so.

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Friday January 02, 2009 @08:33PM (#26307541) Homepage Journal

    Actually you would probably find the FBI judgment has over all been really good.
    True story. I have a sister that is a total nut case. She sent some really nasty conspiracy theory emails to some high government officials.
    She got a visit from DHS and the FBI.
    They realized she was a harmless nut case and left her alone.

  • by lgw (121541) on Friday January 02, 2009 @08:41PM (#26307635) Journal

    An idiot with a car is vastly more dangerous than an idiot with a gun. The death statistics there aren't even arguable. If you don't consider people who brought a gun to the mall with the intention of shooting people (who presumably don't care about signs), then, for the remainder, to worry about whether some idiot is carrying is, frankly, stupid. The danger you placed yourself in by driving to the same place at about the same time as some idiot is *so* much larger than the danger involved with a gun that the gun danger is a round-off error.

    Just because people ignore car deathes and react with great emotion to gun deaths doesn't make guns more dangerous than cars, or even worth considering as dangerous when there are also cars.

    On topic: the same argument goes for our *stupid* obession with security theater at airports. Until the danger of terrorism is larger than the danger in drviing to the airport, why ar we wasting our time with this nonsense? It's emotion stomping all over reason, and nothing else.

  • by Trails (629752) on Friday January 02, 2009 @08:53PM (#26307761)
    I call bullshit of epic proportions.

    What's the point? If there had recently been a number of planes blown out of the sky by groups of Hasidic Jews, then the family of Hasidic Jews would CERTAINLY have aroused more suspicion. And it would be a rational bias. Just like it's a rational bias to have higher suspicion of groups of Muslims, although the vast majority will clearly have peaceable intentions. This is all part of the pattern-recognition faculty with which the human mind is gifted.

    I'm guessing you don't know what rational means. Rational implies a logical reasoned cause. The probability of any randomly selected Muslim being desperate to blow up a plane full of people is trivially similar to the probability of any randomly selected Hasidic Jew/Quaker/Pastafarian/Botanist/whatever being desperate to blow up a plane full of people.

    The association of Muslims and acts of terrorism is a decidedly fear driven, emotional, and IRRATIONAL reaction based on perceived portrayals in media (e.g. news, fictional shows, blah blah blah). That Jack Bauer fought some Muslims who wanted Death to America last season (a couple seasons ago?) is not the basis for anything rational. Rational bias is backed up by objective evidence and reasoning, not cause FOXNEWS tells you to be scared.

    The "pattern recognition" you refer to (I'm figuring you probably mean some sort of associative function of the human brain), is a this-implies-that behaviour of the mind. These associations aren't necessarily rational, only if they are formed based on rational reasoning. Simply believing that Muslims are more likely to be terrorists does not imply rationality.

  • by vux984 (928602) on Friday January 02, 2009 @08:57PM (#26307793)

    Fuck, I wish I hadn't already contributed to this article or I'd mod you up. You hit the nail on the head. For the record, it's reasonable and logical to profile based on culture. Our society takes it to the extreme (and beyond) and that is a definite problem. But the underlying idea(l) behind it is sound and perfectly reasonable.

    The trouble here is that these people were only dressed up like Muslims. As an overall "culture", they are perfectly reasonable, calm, rational people, that make up 20% of the global population. I've encountered thousands and never encountered an elevated level of problems or violence levels.

    Bottom line, fearing "Muslim's" is irrational. Muslim's aren't a "problem culture". Your stereotype is wrong or at least so overly-broad as to be meaningless.

    And THAT is the problem here. Your applying your stereotype too broadly because you don't know how to identify the actual 'problem culture'.

    Suppose a few Chinese men came to the US and were violently accosted by neonazi skinheads... and then returned to China and told their tale, and from then on, every white person who goes to china gets treated with "extra prudence" because they've identified "white people" as a "problem culture".

    Would that be warranted? Of course not!

    What's the difference?

    Sure, to you and I a Nazi Skinhead might stick out in a crowd... but perhaps to someone from another culture, we're all just homogeneous white guys. Or what if the skin heads were KKK instead -- and truly inconspicuous amongst us? Would that make it ok for every non-white to treat all whites as as problem culture, due to KKK violence?

    A reasonable level of prudence is required

    No a reasonable sense of perspective is required. The odds that the guy next to you adorned with nazi symbols and a shaved head is a nazi skinhead and is likely to be belligerent and racist and is from a 'problem culture' is reasonably high, and you are justified in being extra prudent. The odds that the person dressed in traditional muslim attire next to you is affiliated with terrorism are a million to one - the odds that the normal looking white guy on your other side is going to mug you are probably significantly higher.

    Yet which one are you eying suspiciously?

  • by EdIII (1114411) * on Friday January 02, 2009 @09:09PM (#26307893)

    Until 19 white people fly planes into buildings, and another 19 Chinese people do the same, your argument is flawed.

    Flawed? Really?

    So we are going to base "proper police work" on statistics alone? Profiling is ethically and morally correct by law enforcement and government? Since it is "good enough for government" that means that corporations can do the same?

    Let's take your apparent argument a little further. Based on statistics a Muslim person in traditional garb can be stopped and detained repeatedly throughout his life. We can tell them it's only statistics and "proper police work". After the 10th time and they get understandably upset and depressed we can console them with the statistics:

    "Look Abu, it's not personal. We know you are probably a good person. A patriotic American to be sure. You paid your taxes the last 10 years. However, as you can see from all these charts, graphs, and police reports, people that look like you are the most common perpetrators of these sets of crimes. By cooperating with us and being a good sport you are being a good patriotic American and a service to your country. Don't you feel better now?"

    Or how about a young black man named Jamal:

    "Look Jamal, it's not personal. We know you are probably a good person. A patriotic American to be sure. You paid your taxes the last 10 years. However, as you can see from all these charts, graphs, and police reports, people that look like you are the most common perpetrators of these sets of crimes. Statistically, we find more crack rocks on young black men in urban areas than any other. By cooperating with us and being a good sport you are being a good patriotic American and a service to your country. Don't you feel better now?"

    I am just curious to by the way. You seem to be well versed in the statistics. What are the statistics about Muslim families in traditional garb traveling with women and children blowing up plains, trains, and automobiles? That's right I forgot. It was take your child to work day when all those men crashed the planes on 9/11.

    Racism, racial profiling, statistics.... blah blah blah. It's all basing your judgments on somebody based on their outward appearances. That might be fine for your own personal behavior when you keep it to yourself. Affecting someone else life with those same judgments is where you go to far and you hurt other people.

    Police, authorities, companies, governments, basically SOCIETY in general should not be allowed to detrimentally affect somebody else based on their outward appearance. The only thing you have done is perpetuate the belief that there are times that is OK to do this. I'm sorry, but it is not.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday January 02, 2009 @09:29PM (#26308031) Journal

    When did Archie Bunker get an Internet connection?

  • by Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) on Friday January 02, 2009 @09:32PM (#26308053) Homepage

    And the airline is entitled to provide service or not on their sole discretion. They're stupid to do it, to be sure, business ain't what it was, but they're not obliged to follow the recommendation of the FBI if they perceive a traveler of being somehow disruptive.

    All of this "wouldn't happen if they were white" bullshit aside, a rule of thumb I've always followed (since this garbage went into effect anyhow) was "Don't say stupid shit anywhere near a plane or airport."

    I fly as seldom as I possibly can, mainly because I want nothing to do with the whole process, but I'm not about to waste my own time by "protesting against the man" and saying stupid shit. I'll use my common sense and try to get through the flight with minimal time and effort.

    And yea, if I was arabic, I think I'd be even more careful about what I said. Doesn't make what happened right, but there's such a thing as common fucking sense. You want to protest, go block traffic down by city hall. Don't fuck with a corporation on it's own soil and expect to get through without a hassle. Complain after the fact? sure! just don't be surprised when you get yanked off the plane.

  • Blowing up a crowded security checkpoint at an airport would have a nice irony to it, in addition to the overreaction as all other airports shut down causing massive travel problems.

  • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Friday January 02, 2009 @09:56PM (#26308221) Homepage Journal

    Actually, the family was American.

  • by revery (456516) <charles@c[ ].net ['ac2' in gap]> on Friday January 02, 2009 @10:15PM (#26308343) Homepage

    the odds that the normal looking white guy on your other side is going to mug you are probably significantly higher

    I'm sorry, but you just derailed your entire argument. In an effort to prove that the average person lacks sufficient knowledge to truly be prudent, you created a "probable" statistic based on what - the desire that reality be the opposite of what someone "less intelligent/knowledgeable" than you would reason it to be?

  • by Cederic (9623) on Friday January 02, 2009 @10:17PM (#26308357) Journal

    My father has 8 siblings, and he's not even Catholic. Large families used to be common, even now when you consider the family to include the parents, their siblings, the offspring from all of those and their their partners, suddenly 9 is quite a small family group.

    There's a reason weddings tend to be quite large affairs..

  • by MillionthMonkey (240664) * on Friday January 02, 2009 @10:24PM (#26308419)

    An idiot with a car is vastly more dangerous than an idiot with a gun... Just because people ignore car deathes and react with great emotion to gun deaths doesn't make guns more dangerous than cars, or even worth considering as dangerous when there are also cars.

    But this is all apples to oranges. Cars are more useful than guns. There is simply no parity between the two. Of course we're willing to put up with more risk from cars than guns. Cars improve our lives in ways that guns do not. We would have more deaths from all kinds of causes if we didn't have cars. Guns carry less bang for the buck.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 02, 2009 @10:43PM (#26308551)

    I'm sure you're right. Those muslim-Americans probably made a big scene and refused to answer Airport security's questions. I mean, that 's exactly what you would do in their situation, in the post 9/11 security environment, wouldn't you?

    PS They were released in 2 hours, which is like 10 seconds in Federal time. It's pretty obvious didn't talk back to anyone except for Airtran, and that after the fact.

  • by the_B0fh (208483) on Friday January 02, 2009 @11:29PM (#26308881) Homepage

    So, when the Catholics and Protestants were shooting and bombing each other, and bombing London, we should be suspicious of all Catholics and Protestants?

    What a Fucking Moron.

  • by the_B0fh (208483) on Friday January 02, 2009 @11:31PM (#26308895) Homepage

    So, when has families of Arab people been hijacking planes?

  • by Bender0x7D1 (536254) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @12:00AM (#26309025)

    You missed:

    "Look Mike, it's not personal. We know you are probably a good person. A patriotic American to be sure. You paid your taxes the last 10 years. However, as you can see from all these charts, graphs, and police reports, people that look like you are the most common perpetrators of these sets of crimes. Statistically, we find more middle-aged white men to be serial killers than any other group. By cooperating with us and being a good sport you are being a good patriotic American and a service to your country. Don't you feel better now?"

  • by mangu (126918) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @12:25AM (#26309159)

    What is exactly this "terror" thing? Suppose an extended family of nine Norwegians board a plane and make comments about the relative safety of each seat. Will anybody have a feeling of terror upon hearing those comments? No.

    People born in Norway don't fit the model people associate with terrorists. Norwegians are Lutherans and Martin Luther never told his followers to kill people who don't follow Martin Luther's teachings. No one who was born in Norway and raised the Norwegian way believes he will have seventy virgins to serve him in Paradise if he blows himself up killing infidels.

    Sure, the *vast majority* of Muslims don't believe that bullshit either. It's a highly debatable matter if the teachings of Mohammed can be interpreted that way. But you don't see Muslims protesting against suicide terrorists. And that's the big problem with Islam.

    Islamists are at a delicate point. I knows some people who are so-called "moderate" Islamists, they are much like "moderate" Christians, they interpret the teachings of their religion in a rational way. I'd rather be a friend of a moderate Islamist than a fundamentalist Christian.

    The big problem with Islam, IMHO, is that the moderate Islamists are so reluctant to make a stand against the fundamentalists. You won't find any Christian who's afraid to criticize David Koresh [wikipedia.org] or Jim Jones [wikipedia.org], but how many Islamists are ready to make a critical comment about Mohammed Atta? [wikipedia.org]

    That's the big problem with Islam, there's a small but significant minority that accepts the more radical interpretation of their religion. And that's something that causes terror in people....

  • by Dun Malg (230075) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @12:28AM (#26309169) Homepage

    Kaffiyeh. They're fairly fashionable at the moment round where I am (Manchester UK).

    And I wore a shemagh (same thing) I got from an SAS guy for two years in Afghanistan as a soldier in the US Army. I also sported a full beard and mustache* while there. You can bet your ass I shaved, got a haircut, and put that head-rag in my bag before flying home on commercial airliners. Everyone has the right to practice whatever damn fool religion they want, but the rest of the world should be under no obligation to ignore your chosen flavor of irrational belief in a magic sky man. It ain't Buddhists or Methodists strapping dynamite to their waists and blowing up people in crowded markets. If you want to avoid being seen as a threat, it might behoove you to not dress like one. Granted, it's idiotic to think a real terrorist would dress the part to get on an airplane (rather than showing up in a button-up shirt and slacks [wikipedia.org]) but steadfastly sticking to your dang fool religious costume in the face of known public perception is asking for trouble.

    Perhaps it's just my firm belief that organized religion is a dangerous habit that by all logic should be treated with the same disdain as any other self-indulgent delusion; that getting your lessons on morality and ethics from a 2000 year old book is as wise as getting your chemistry knowledge from writings of the same era [wikipedia.org]; that the "bathwater" of religious dogma has long since drowned the "baby" of spiritual fulfillment. But whatever the reason, I think "tolerance" of religion is as silly a demand as tolerance of a belief that RED means GO and GREEN means STOP in traffic.

    It'll be interesting to see how the mods go on this post. Most people here seem to agree that religion is bad when it says schoolbooks should contain christian fairy tales, but from the look of the mods so far here, it appears Islam is seen as some sort of underdog against the forces of ChimpyBUSHitler**.

    * Locals don't take you seriously if you shave. Lack of facial hair symbolizes ignorance due to being young or female. Says a lot about their level of cultural sophistication, really. Most of those folks are the local equivalent of backwoods hillbillies.

    ** I won't pass on my full opinion of my former commander-in-chief, but I will say "not my favorite president"...

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @12:33AM (#26309197) Homepage Journal
    "Refund has nothing to do with it. It was racism and racial profiling that got them kicked off the plane, interviewed by the FBI, their trip delayed, etc. The financial loss of the original plane tickets is nothing compared to the trauma they have had to deal with mentally."

    And your point is....?

    Sorry..but, so far, only arab types have been responsible for blowing up US planes or crashing them into buildings. So far, not many white, black or oriental people have tried to do so.

    At this point..this is quite a natural response. If I were of arab decent....I'd try to go out of my way a little to NOT seem suspicious to my fellow passengers. Of course this will blow over in a few more years and people will relax (unless more terrorists of arab decent (or more generally muslims) kill more people on a plane or other public place.

  • by Elias Serge (657630) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @02:04AM (#26309647)

    cough cough ... Thirty Years' War... cough cough (and since it was the continuation of a conflict that started in 1546, its more like the 102 years war...but whatever).

    The problem is not Islam, the problem is organized religion that encourages fundamentalist teachings and the abandonment of reason. Islam is not really more vulnerable to this than any other religion, it just seems that way because the fundamentalists' cause is buoyed by moderates who resent political persecution of 'the Islamic world' by 'the West'.
    A perfect current events example of this is happening right now in Gaza. Before the 'truce' expired Hamas was largely considered a failed govt. by Gazans. A average terrorist group but a failure at running a state. If a new (and fair!) election had been held before the truce expired, Fatah would probably have won. But now, many Palestinians who despise hamas will still support them, because they hate the israelis far more and want to deny them a perceived victory.
    I am not talking about morality or what the israelis should be doing, and I don't want this example to become fuel for a flamewar.
    I'm just trying to point out a universal human characteristic: nothing brings disparate people together like a common enemy.
    The perceived strength of fundamentalist muslims is not a religious phenomenon, it is a political one. This is a distinction that many people miss, IME.

  • by totally bogus dude (1040246) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @03:44AM (#26310045)

    I agree with most of your post in a pragmatic sense, but it does raise some issues in an idealistic sense.

    If you want to avoid being seen as a threat, it might behoove you to not dress like one.

    This sounds an awful lot like "if a woman doesn't want to be raped, it might behoove her not to dress provocatively". On the surface there is some logic to it: if a potential rapist happens across a woman dressed in particularly attractive or revealing attire he may decide to attack her. So from a purely pragmatic point of view, it does make some sense. On the other hand, there's a good reason why "but she looked really, really hot" has never been considered a valid excuse for rape, and "blame the victim" mentalities in general are considered very poor form.

    As you said yourself, it's idiotic to think a real terrorist would dress the part to get on an airplane. Yet for some reason it's okay to expect people to dress differently purely because lots of people have some idiotic notions about "what terrorists look like"?

    Perhaps it's just my firm belief that organized religion is a dangerous habit that by all logic should be treated with the same disdain as any other self-indulgent delusion

    It probably is. To find out, try a thought experiment: what if this discrimination wasn't occurring against people wearing clothing that implied a particular religious faith, but instead that they supported a particular sports team? Would you then say, "well supporting the Chicago Bulls is a dangerous habit and if you don't want to get kicked off planes you should keep your interest in basketball to yourself"? Or would you say "that's fucking ludicrous and I feel kind of embarrassed to be part of a society that tolerates such ridiculous and obviously ineffectual 'security' measures"?

    Also, I think your comment about the mods here being pro-Islam and anti-Christian is a strawman. People aren't being persecuted and treated like terrorists because they wear a cross necklace or are dressed like a nun. Islamists aren't trying to get their religion's creation myth taught alongside evolution in schools. Apples and oranges.

  • by Scannerman (1136265) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @04:56AM (#26310355)

    But they weren't white and conventional, so obviously in the deranged 1950's fantasy these people inhabit they couldn't be 'proper' Americans.

    Seriously all the people involved should have been fired anyway, this was so far beyond dumb that you figure they would be unlikely to cope with anything involving judgement.

  • by yoshi_mon (172895) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @07:15AM (#26310857)

    I'm always a little amazed at how it's a damned if you do and damned if you don't type of world we live in. If the people in question did not get a little pissed off, in a righteous indignation type of way, then why golly they might actually have been plotting something right? I mean that's how the far right wing would spin it. Because as we are so often told if we have nothing to hide why do we fear these sort of acts?

    I guess I'm always a bit confused at exactly how pissed off people are allowed to get when stuff like this happens. But I know for damn sure that no matter what those people do it's always either too much or not enough. Because someone like you will always try to turn it around and make them the 'bad guys'.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @09:20AM (#26311375) Journal
    Can we just start profiling religious people in general (or, at least, members of Abrahamic religions) as a bit unstable and potential terrorists? Christians seem willing to blame all Muslims for the actions of a small subset, while simultaneously disowning large proportions of the set of people who consider themselves Christian when they commit various criminal acts (firebombing abortion clinics, bombing pubs over Northern Ireland, and so on).
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday January 03, 2009 @09:24AM (#26311391) Homepage Journal

    So, when the Catholics and Protestants were shooting and bombing each other, and bombing London, we should be suspicious of all Catholics and Protestants?

    No, you should just be suspicious of anyone who believes that some guy was hung on a cross until dead and then carried to heaven by angels, and that you should do whatever his dad says.

  • Re:Discrimination (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StrawberryFrog (67065) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @11:20AM (#26311989) Homepage Journal

    I do have a question for you: in this day and age, how many people do you know that would be willing to patronize a sandwich shop that had a sign like that?

    A sign exactly like that? Or a sign somewhat like that; e.g. replace "Niggers" with "Muslims", "Gays", "Atheists" or the like?

  • by sumdumass (711423) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @01:40PM (#26312961) Journal

    This sounds an awful lot like "if a woman doesn't want to be raped, it might behoove her not to dress provocatively". On the surface there is some logic to it: if a potential rapist happens across a woman dressed in particularly attractive or revealing attire he may decide to attack her. So from a purely pragmatic point of view, it does make some sense. On the other hand, there's a good reason why "but she looked really, really hot" has never been considered a valid excuse for rape, and "blame the victim" mentalities in general are considered very poor form.

    I think your a little off on this. Getting kicked off a plane or refused service isn't really comparable to actually violating a woman's body. They weren't strip searched with their body cavities checked. It's more akin to if you don't want to get mugged, then don't flash your money, don't wear two hundred dollar shoes and don't load up with jewelry, Ipods, cell phones and such when going into certain places. You know, don't leave the $1500 camera on the dash of the car when parking on the side streets in downtown big city USA. It's true that it's the behavior of others that you are trying to control but it just isn't on the same level as rape.

    As you said yourself, it's idiotic to think a real terrorist would dress the part to get on an airplane. Yet for some reason it's okay to expect people to dress differently purely because lots of people have some idiotic notions about "what terrorists look like"?

    I'm not the original poster but I think it is appropriate that if you expect people to treat you with respect, you can't dress like a hoodlum gansta when applying for a job or you can't dress in a $2000 three peace business suit while working at the unemployment office. People for whatever reasons, have impressions of others and what they should be like. You won't see someone dressed and talking like a pimp from a movie being elected as president of the US. If you dress in a way that instills fear into people, expect people to be scared in your presence. It really doesn't matter what rights you have or think you have, you know your dress and actions will cause issues when around strangers. You have to be willing to accept it or dress differently.

    It probably is. To find out, try a thought experiment: what if this discrimination wasn't occurring against people wearing clothing that implied a particular religious faith, but instead that they supported a particular sports team? Would you then say, "well supporting the Chicago Bulls is a dangerous habit and if you don't want to get kicked off planes you should keep your interest in basketball to yourself"? Or would you say "that's fucking ludicrous and I feel kind of embarrassed to be part of a society that tolerates such ridiculous and obviously ineffectual 'security' measures"?

    If fans of the Chicogo Bulls where know to blow themselves up or hijack air planes and crash them into buildings, I would say yes, it would be the same. There has been more then one incident where a Bulls fan or some other sports fan has been beaten or assaulted because they were wearing a shirt of the opposing team in an area of other fans. It used to be common to hear on the news about bar room brawls breaking out during the Ohio State- Michigan games where someone would wear a Michigan jersy into a bar in Ohio or vice versa and some of the locals didn't like it.

    So yea, given different situations and scenarios, I think it is perfectly valid to expect people not to wear certain items at certain times. It doesn't matter if it is religious in nature or a sport logo or whatever.

  • Re:Discrimination (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @02:56PM (#26313557) Homepage Journal

    So the market tried to solve the problem, but they were over-regulated!

    Not in the least. Not by far. The market did nothing. The taxi drivers didn't change their fares for any economic reasons, but out of sympathy and support. According to free market theory they should have raised fares, because demand had increased.

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