Dallas-based imam Omar Suleiman, a professor at Southern Methodist University, said Thursday that “airports are a scary place for Muslims. Especially with the rhetoric of the president.” Apparently it is Donald Trump’s fault that a couple of Muslims were taken off an airplane for behaving suspiciously.
But speaking of scary air travel, imagine how scary air travel was for the passengers on American Airlines Flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175, American Airlines Flight 77, and United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. Imagine how scary air travel was for the passengers on the American Airlines flight that was sabotaged just last week by a Muslim mechanic who spoke about wanting to harm non-Muslims.
But never mind all that. What prompted Suleiman’s fearful remark was a recent incident on an American Airlines flight: the Dallas Morning News reported that “two Dallas-area Muslim men say their American Airlines flight was canceled because the crew ‘didn’t feel comfortable’ after they waved to one another boarding a flight from Birmingham, Ala., to DFW International Airport.”
They waved at one another, and were thrown off a flight! Oh, the Islamophobia! The racism!
And it only gets worse: “When they got off, they said they were trailed by law enforcement officers, interviewed by an FBI agent and had their bags searched again by TSA during their trip Saturday.”
The two Muslims, Abderraoof Alkhawaldeh, whom the Dallas Morning News describes as “a Muslim motivational speaker,” and “Dallas nonprofit leader” Issam Abdallah, charged racial profiling and spoke to the media at the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Alkhawaldeh and Abdallah “said they want to talk with the airline’s leaders about their treatment and what they say is an increasing number of cases of discrimination against Arabs and Muslims.”
Abdallah was distraught: “It was the most humiliating day of my life.” Alkhawaldeh raged: “This is absurd, unacceptable and un-American.”
In their outrage, Abdallah and Alkhawaldeh might be forgiven for lacking a bit of perspective. They are no doubt not considering the fact that they weren’t on American Airlines Flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175, American Airlines Flight 77, and United Airlines Flight 93; the passengers on those flights likely didn’t find their experience humiliating, but it was nevertheless unpleasant in other ways.
American Airlines, meanwhile, maintained that taking Alkhawaldeh and Abdallah off the flight was simply a security issue, the result of “concerns raised by a crew member and a passenger,” explained American’s spokeswoman LaKesha Brown, who added: “American and all of its regional partners have an obligation to take safety and security concerns raised by crew members and passengers seriously. All customers on Flight 5886 were rebooked on the next flight to DFW. We’re committed to providing a positive experience to everyone who travels with us.” She said that American had contacted Alkhawaldeh and Abdallah to talk the whole thing out.
The outcome of this is easy to see: American Airlines will issue an apology, affirm its eschewal of racism and “Islamophobia,” and pay Alkhawaldeh and Abdallah a tidy sum of money to assuage their “humiliation.” Security concerns will be swept aside. Infidels are clearly not allowed to demonstrate any concern whatsoever about any Muslims on any plane, no matter how suspiciously he or she may be acting. Any such concern is “Islamophobia,” and makes airports “a scary place for Muslims.” This is the kind of language that makes infidels jump into line.
So whatever really happened in the case of Abderraoof Alkhawaldeh and Issam Abdallah, they will get their big payout and their apology from a chastened and anxious American Airlines. In the process, one more lesson will be given to those who would dare raise concerns about Muslims behaving suspiciously on airplanes: don’t say a word. If you do, you’ll be charged with “racism” and “Islamophobia.” Concern about jihadist hijackers? Forget it. That is so 2001; to be concerned about it now is simply evidence of a deep-seated bigotry and hatred. If you persist in this hatred, your professional life could be destroyed.
The effect of all this will be to make it easier for Islamic jihadists to carry out jihad attacks on airplanes without being impeded. Of course we can all be absolutely certain that such an outcome isn’t what Abderraoof Alkhawaldeh, Issam Abdallah, and Omar Suleiman want, not at all — is it?
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.