Thursday, January 31, 2008

Airport Break Room Sharia In Salt Lake City

(Hat tip to The Ryskind Sketchbook for the graphic)

Allowing religious services to be conducted on public property is supposedly against the law...but not for Muslims in this case:

A shuttle driver has filed a complaint with the FAA against the Salt Lake International Airport, saying officials allowed thousands of religious services to be conducted on public property. Muslim cab drivers began praying in a small airport building used as a break room after 9-11, because, the airport says, they became targets, with people yelling at them and throwing things.

Last week we brought you the story of a Muslim cab driver at the airport who says he was assaulted when he tried to pray inside the building. Tonight the man charged in that case speaks out about his case against the airport.

Shuttle driver Jeff Brueningsen took photos inside the building he and other drivers share at the airport. "It was definitely an Islamic center." He said it didn't feel right, so he filed a complaint with the FAA against the airport.

"In proper, polite company you never bring up politics or religion. And they introduced both instantly into what's supposed to be a professional, secular transportation-aviation facility," Brueningsen said.

In the complaint he details claims that he was harassed by a group of Muslim drivers who he says have threatened to kill him. It came to a head earlier this month when Brueningsen says Mohammed Alahmed and other drivers attacked him.

"They were going like this, using their fingers, saying, ‘You F-ing Jew, you don't want us to pray here,'" Brueningsen says.

Alahmed says it was the other way around, that Brueningsen tried to stop him from praying. "He say the F word against me, and I didn't do anything. And he grabbed me from my shirt and hit me with his hand," Alahmed said.

Airport police investigated and charged only Brueningsen with assault. Shortly after, the airport closed the building, and Muslim drivers began praying outside.

The article does not say whether Brueningsen was actually convicted and sentenced for assault, or merely charged, and I would guess that it became a `he said - he said' affair that ended up not being prosecuted.

The fact remains that the airport allowed the Muslim drivers to take over the public building for their private religious and cultural purposes to the exclusion of the rights of others. If a Christian group had wanted to convert this to a church, I doubt the airport authorities would have gone along.

We'll see what develops.

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