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Lord Umbarger

6 Muslim leaders put off plane in TwinCities

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Aztec Warrior

Pauline revealed to Pajamas Media that the six imams were doing things far more suspicious than praying - an Arabic-speaking passenger heard them repeatedly invoke “bin Laden,” and “terrorism,” a gate attendant told the captain that she did not want to fly with them, and that bomb-sniffing dogs were brought aboard. Other Muslim passengers were left undisturbed and later joined in a round of applause for the U.S. Airways crew. “It wasn’t that they were Muslim. It was all of the suspicious things they did,” Pauline said.

Here is her story, along with corroborating quotes from the U.S. Airways spokeswoman Andrea Rader and the official report, another Pajamas Media exclusive.

Sitting in Minneapolis-St. Paul’s Airport Gate C9, she noticed one of the imams immediately. “He was pacing nervously, talking in Arabic,” she said.

She quickly noticed the others. “They didn’t look like holy men to me. They looked like guys heading out of town for a Vikings game.”

Pauline said she did not see or hear the imams pray at the gate (she was at dinner in a nearby airport eatery), but heard about the pre-flight prayers from other passengers hours later.

Contrary to press accounts that a single note from a passenger triggered the imams’ removal, Captain John Howard Wood was weighing multiple factors - factors that have largely been ignored by the press.

Another passenger, not the note writer, was an Arabic speaker sitting near two of the imams in the plane’s tail. That passenger pulled a flight attendant aside, and in a whisper, translated what the men were saying. They were invoking “bin Laden” and condemning America for “killing Saddam,” according to police reports.

Meanwhile an imam seated in first class asked for a seat-belt extension, even though according to both an on-duty flight attendant and another deadheading flight attendant, he looked too thin to need one. Hours later, when the passengers were being evacuated, the seat-belt extension was found on the floor near the imam’s seat, police reports confirm. The U.S. Airways spokeswoman Andrea Rader said she did not dispute the report, but said the airline’s internal investigation cannot yet account for the seat-belt extension request or its subsequent use.

A seat-belt extension can easily be used as a weapon, by wrapping the open-end of the belt around your fist and swinging the heavy metal buckle.

Finally, a gate attendant told the captain she thought the imams were acting suspiciously, according to police reports.

So the captain apparently made his decision to delay the flight based on many complaints, not one. And he consulted a federal air marshal, a U.S. Airways ground security coordinator and the airline’s security office in Phoenix. All thought the imams were acting suspiciously, Rader told me.

Other factors were also considered: All six imams had boarded together, with the first-class passengers - even though only one of them had a first-class ticket. Three had one-way tickets. Between the six men, only one had checked a bag.

And, Pauline said, they spread out just like the 9-11 hijackers. Two sat in first, two in the middle, and two back in the economy section. Pauline’s account is confirmed by the police report. The airline spokeswoman added that some seemed to be sitting in seats not assigned to them.

One thing that no one seemed to consider at the time, perhaps due to lack of familiarity with Islamic practice, is that the men prayed both at the gate and on the plane. Observant Muslims pray only once at sundown, not twice.

“It was almost as if they were intentionally trying to get kicked off the flight,” Pauline said.

A lone plain clothes FBI agent boarded the plane and briefly spoke to the imams. Later, uniformed police escorted them off.

Some press reports said the men were led off in handcuffs, which Pauline disputes. “I saw them. They were not handcuffed.”

At this point, the passengers became alarmed. “How do we know they got all their stuff off?” Pauline heard one man ask.

While the imams were soon released, Pauline is fuming: “We are the victims of these people. They need to be more sensitive to us. They were totally insensitive to us and then accused us of being insensitive to them. I mean, we were a lot more inconvenienced than them.”

The plane was delayed for some three and one-half hours.

Bomb-sniffing dogs were used to sweep the plane and every passenger was re-screened, the airline spokeswoman confirmed. Another detail omitted from press reports.

The reaction of the remaining passengers has also gone unreported. “We applauded and cheered for the crew,” she said.

“I think it was either a foiled attempt to take over the plane or it was a publicity stunt to accuse us of being insensitive,” Pauline said. “It had to be to intimidate U.S. Airways to ease up on security.”

So far, U.S. Airways refuses to be intimidated, even though the feds have launched an investigation. “We are absolutely backing this crew,” Rader said. :tu:

Police Report

As the plane boarded, she said, no one refused to fly. The public prayers and Arabic phone call did not trigger any alarms - so much for the p.c. allegations that people were disturbed by Muslim prayers.

But a note from a passenger about suspicious movements of the imams got the crew’s attention. A copy of the passenger’s note appears in the police report.

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GoddessWhispers

The power of one note, overcoming the life of so many. Projecting on all that so many find objectionable about other people, I wonder how many other notes will affect how many other flights, train rides, etc... If we were that quick to move into a defensive posture on 911, those terrorists would have called the box cutter weapons they allegedly brandished , suppositories! :ph34r: Allah Akbar ! Our colon's hemorrhaging. :tu:

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AROCES

From the reportage I read, it was a witness that set off the alarm, not the observations of the flight crew.

It is important that witnesses prove their credibility because the allegations they can make can land otherwise innocent people in very hot water, or constant water if you know what I mean.

I'm not questioning any facts. We don't know what the facts of this case are. I was questioning the reportage, for the article seemed odd.

- So? Does it matter which particular actions the 6 Imamas made that sets off the alarm? Does it have to be done at the same time and not in sequence? If all they did was pray then the airline would not have taken furhter action but maybe just keep an eye on them.

- It is the investigators job to check the credibility of the witness, a journalist assumption does not count.

- Well, it is the Airline and the Air Marshall making the statement, and you chose to not trust them and believe more the 6 Imams.

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AROCES

I wonder what would happen if 6 Christian leaders, not recognizable televangelist hacks, started to pray aloud, yet softly but enough to be overheard, on a flight. I wonder if anyone would become afraid and seek the same satisfaction as in this case.

I wonder if someone got on a plane, wearing a teeshirt with a big Christ face on it , if they would be asked to cover it up so as not to offend other passengers sitting behind.

- When was the last time you hear of a Christian, Buddhist or a Hindu got on a plane and highjacked it? Still wondering?

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GoddessWhispers

When is it intelligent to see in every Muslim face, the potential hijacker!? And since when are Muslims the only hijackers in history!?

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__Kratos__

- When was the last time you hear of a Christian, Buddhist or a Hindu got on a plane and highjacked it? Still wondering?

Plane hijack linked to Pope appeal - October 4, 2006

It quoted him as saying: "I am a Christian and I don't want to serve in a Muslim army."

No one was killed and he was unarmed but he did hijack a plane.

When is it intelligent to see in every Muslim face, the potential hijacker!? And since when are Muslims the only hijackers in history!?

Well potential... Yes. It's not our fault that their religion supports the deeds of terrorism in their holy book. :hmm:

Edited by __Kratos__

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AROCES

When is it intelligent to see in every Muslim face, the potential hijacker!? And since when are Muslims the only hijackers in history!?

Well, they are the most popular and well known.

Comes with the territory when you are know for something.

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explorer

- So? Does it matter which particular actions the 6 Imamas made that sets off the alarm? Does it have to be done at the same time and not in sequence? If all they did was pray then the airline would not have taken furhter action but maybe just keep an eye on them.

- It is the investigators job to check the credibility of the witness, a journalist assumption does not count.

- Well, it is the Airline and the Air Marshall making the statement, and you chose to not trust them and believe more the 6 Imams.

Of course it matters what actions set off the so called alarm. If journalist's assumptions do not count, then the unattributed quotes are questionable. Everyone knows that all media loves to embellish a story. We are yet to know what official investigations find out about the witnesses or the accused. Until then I presume innocence about the accused before guilt is proven. That doesn't mean I can dispute the witnesses, but I can question the journalism we all rely upon.

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AROCES

Of course it matters what actions set off the so called alarm. If journalist's assumptions do not count, then the unattributed quotes are questionable. Everyone knows that all media loves to embellish a story. We are yet to know what official investigations find out about the witnesses or the accused. Until then I presume innocence about the accused before guilt is proven. That doesn't mean I can dispute the witnesses, but I can question the journalism we all rely upon.

- Then the loud praying about anti America mattered.

- Journalist job is to report and not assume. The investigators release a statement after interviewing witness that investigators believe are credible. It's part of their job, they don't just interview anyone who wants to be interviewd. :rolleyes: It's the journalist who out of desperation at times who interview by standard who saw or knew little and then make a report on it.

- The bottom line is that Air Marshall agreed with the action, based on the 6 Imams behavior.

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explorer

But was the prayer in fact anti-American? Was it loud or simply audible? Is anti Americanism reason for justifiable removal from a form of public transportation? Is any old a loud prayer a cause for rejection? I imagine there was already quite some noise in the terminal.

Journalists are well known for putting people on the spot, well known for inventing witnesses and quotes indeed. I can't say that happened here, but unattributed quotes are more questionable. An Air Marshall agreed with the actions taken. Hardly surprising if they want to stay a marshall. From where was this other marshall sourced? Open mind remains.

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AROCES

But was the prayer in fact anti-American? Was it loud or simply audible? Is anti Americanism reason for justifiable removal from a form of public transportation? Is any old a loud prayer a cause for rejection? I imagine there was already quite some noise in the terminal.

Journalists are well known for putting people on the spot, well known for inventing witnesses and quotes indeed. I can't say that happened here, but unattributed quotes are more questionable. An Air Marshall agreed with the actions taken. Hardly surprising if they want to stay a marshall. From where was this other marshall sourced? Open mind remains.

- You are asking the same questions and simply doubt what was reported for argument sake. You are not having an open mind, you are simply arguing for the 6 Imams and like a defense lawyer going on the offensive by going after the witness, destroying their credibility.

Nice try.

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