Friday, January 22, 2010

PC Overkill - Jewish Teen Removed From Plane For Praying!

A Jewish 17-year-old and a a 16-year old removed from a US Airways flight between New York and Kentucky after one of the boys started to perform his traditional prayers and whipped out - wait for it - tefillim!

As pictured above, tefillim are ritual prayer phylacteries used by observant Jews, consisting of leather straps and two small ( about an inch and half square) boxes containing Torah verses, one worn on the forehead and one worn on the upper arm, as pictured above.

When questioned about it, the boy cooperated and explained what the tefillum were, but that wasn't good enough for the pilot. The flight was diverted to Philadelphia, the kids were marched off the plane at gunpoint and forced to lie on the ground spread-eagle to be sniffed by bomb-detecting dogs. And the the parents were not contacted for hours and had no idea where their children were:

My friend Greg over at Rhymes with Right has a superb post on this that gets to the heart of the matter:

Muslims can condemn the US president, praise Muslim dictators, and engage in all manner of suspicious behavior on airplanes in this country without being removed from airplanes – and get windfall legal settlements if they do.

On the other hand, polite Jewish kids who pray in a traditional manner on a plane will be cause for diverting the flight for an emergency landing , and will be removed from the plane for further investigation. {...}

I think this is an example of PC run amok – the pilot deciding that any concern raised about any passenger demanded the same treatment that a suspicious-acting Muslim would get, even though the explanation provided was perfectly reasonable and easily verifiable. You know, the same reason we treat Congressional Medal of Honor winners and elderly nuns the same way we treat guys matching the profile of the Crotch Bomber (or worse) -- in order to avoid accusations of profiling.

Read the whole's right on the money.

He has it exactly right. I also find it difficult to believe that none of the crew, pilots or passengers on a flight originating out of New York City had never seen tefillum in action before...or as Greg points out, given the cooperation and the demeanor of the two teenagers, there was absolutely no reason that they couldn't have checked with a Rabbi, or even the internet before pulling them off the plane.

This would never have happened on El Al regardless of the passenger's religion because of their interview questions and pre-check in screening,not to mention well trained armed security on board the plane.

No, US Air wanted to make sure no one was going to accuse them of not being politically correct, even if it was nonsensical. And I have a feeling that this kind of stupidity is going to cost them a bundle.

Speaking of which, here's the Latma crew in Israel having a little satirical fun at the expense of US airline security:

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