If “hate crimes” targeting Muslims do not exist, they must be invented. They’re simply too politically useful to do without. And so it is that the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is aiding a Muslim woman, Fatima Altakrouri, who claims that Southwest would not allow her to sit in a plane’s exit row because she was wearing a hijab.
Just for some perspective, in the last few weeks alone, in Nigeria, Islamic jihadis murdered a Christian pastor and his 3-year-old son. Elsewhere in the same country, Muslims screaming “Allahu akbar” murdered 37 Christians, all the while roaming freely in the presence of security personnel, who did nothing to stop them. In Indonesia, eleven Muslims were arrested for plotting jihad massacres at several Christian churches. In South Sudan, thirteen Christians were murdered in a village that, according to the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, “experiences frequent attacks by Arab Islamic militias.” In Pakistan, a Muslim mob murdered a Christian for trying to defend his sister whom Muslims had stripped naked in the street. In Uganda, Muslims beheaded and removed the tongue of a pastor who had debated Muslims and converted some of them to Christianity.
Now, I don’t mean to minimize the gravity of being denied a seat in the exit row, but compared to incidents of that kind, which take place more or less regularly, it doesn’t seem to be that big a deal. If this is an example of what CAIR can come up with in terms of “Islamophobia,” it’s pretty thin gruel. Yet “Islamophobia” in the U.S. and Europe gets far more international media attention than the global Muslim persecution of Christians. Now, why is that?
As for Fatima Altakrouri, according to USA Today, she has “filed a complaint with the Department of Transportation, saying she was not allowed to sit in an emergency exit row on a Southwest Airlines flight because she was wearing a hijab, but her sister was allowed to sit there without one.”
Altakrouri claims that after denying her request, a flight attendant mocked her as a terrorist: “As I was walking, I overheard her saying to the passengers in the seats that were around that area, laughing, saying that ‘If we sat her there, she’d bring down the plane in an emergency. You can imagine the shock I was in at that time.”
However, Southwest spokesperson Brandy King says, politely, that this didn’t happen: “Our internal reports from the flight do not support claims made by the passenger regarding comments or decisions being made based upon appearance.”
Now, I wasn’t on the flight, and so things may have happened just the way Altakrouri says they did, but since she and Brandy King have made contradictory claims, it’s useful to evaluate each claim from a common-sense standpoint. Before the COVID-19 hysteria hit, for about fifteen or twenty years, I was flying at very least once every couple of weeks. I flew all over the country and to Europe and Australia as well. I’ve been on hundreds of flights. On many of those flights were Muslims in hijabs as well as Muslim men in djellabas. I never saw anyone give them any trouble. I once saw about 20 Muslim men, all sporting long beards and Muslim garb, gather in a gate area for prayers, after which they boarded the plane I boarded as well. No one on the plane gave any indication that this bothered them at all.
My experiences don’t mean that no Muslim ever faces unpleasantness from rude people on flights. After all, who doesn’t? But how likely do you think it is that this flight attendant decided to insult this woman publicly and imply that she was a terrorist? Quite aside from the issue of “Islamophobia,” I’ve seen flight attendants act rude and snippy, but I’ve never seen them publicly mock or berate customers. I’m sure it has happened that flight attendants will make fun of customers within the earshot of other customers and of the targeted person as well, but I suspect that such incidents are vanishingly rare. Also, nowadays the American public in general has been sensitized to the supposed problem of “Islamophobia,” and for the most part people bend over backward to be solicitous to religious Muslims, as they are afraid of accusations of “bigotry” and public claims of discrimination such as this one.
In any case, Altakrouri’s sister, Muna Kowni, says that they made one more attempt to reason with the flight attendant, but “all she does is scream at us, ‘Get off the plane,’ and she pointed out towards the door. I would like for them to at least reach out, you know, show that they, you know, apologize.”
Despite this supposedly enraging and humiliating experience, the sisters said that they’ll keep on flying Southwest. Now, airline passengers don’t have too many choices these days, but wouldn’t it make sense to avoid the airline that had treated them so shabbily?
All that makes me skeptical of what Fatima Altakrouri and Muna Kowni are claiming here. And with CAIR involved, there is even more reason to be skeptical, as CAIR has shaken down numerous American companies with claims of discrimination against Muslims. Victim status is as lucrative as it is coveted in our sick society today, and there have been numerous spurious claims of hate crimes against Muslims.
Nevertheless, Southwest doesn’t want a firestorm of negative publicity, and so it may just give the sisters a healthy payout to make this whole thing go away. Nice work if you can get it.