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Praying Muslims: Why Hasn't This Letter From Passenger On Flight 300 Been In The News


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Praying Muslims: Why Hasn't This Letter From Passenger On Flight 300 Been In The News?


Monday, December 4, 2006


The following letter is from a woman who was a passenger on board the flight that removed the six Muslim men. I received it from a friend and reader.


I have heard NOTHING about this letter. I did a google search and found only ONE other site that had published this letter... and only ONE article about it.


Why haven't we heard anything about this letter? You will see that it was dated November 21. That's over 10 days ago!! When the MSM doesn't want you to know something, they can sure block it out.


Let's make sure it gets some attention!





Hi Raye, I ran this through SNOPES and found nothing.






November 21, 2006


US Airways Airline


To all news stations concerned:


In reference to the removal of the six Muslim gentlemen from flight 300 at the Minneapolis –St. Paul airport last light, prior to the planes departure.


I was a passenger on that flight, sitting in seat 5-E originally and later temporarily sitting in the front row of first class, while waiting for everyone to disembark the plane for a safety check. Having been on the plane, witnessed what transpired first hand and talked at great length with the first class steward regarding other facts, I am “ENRAGED” at the national AND local news reports I have seen this morning.


The facts reported are incomplete and inaccurate. This event was immediately jumped on by their attorney, who told the American people on CNBC they need to get over 911, stop being paranoid about Muslums and he even threatened a huge law suit against US Airways for the discriminating and humiliating treatment of his clients.


I am convinced this entire thing may have been done to intimidate not only US Airways, but all airlines and airports in order to get them to back off on their security efforts.


This is only part of the real story.


In defense of US Airways: They did a splendid job of handling the situation. No panic was created, we felt protected at all times. They did not make a knee jerk reaction as a result of one passenger passing them as note as reported by the media.


Most importantly, the public needs to be told that there was a series of "many suspicious events”, which were observed by the crew and several passengers. The captain made his decision based on all of these events and not just one note.


Their attorney is trying to turn this into a “right to pray in a public place issue” and it is not that at all. He is claiming they were removed from the plane for praying in public. And inferring it is wrong to discriminate against them for this. Claiming that we Americans don’t understand their religion and their need to pray everyday at specific times, he stated that WE need to be more tolerant of their religious beliefs.


He (their attorney) made a statement trying to draw an analogy of the right to carry a bible or a rosary on a plane. This is nothing more than a smoke screen to make this a human rights issue and intimidate the airline industry. They were already claiming discrimination to Fox TV news when I got home from the airport.


Something does not smell right here.


This has all of the earmarks of a preplanned “set up” with their attorney all ready to go.


I am sure their attorney has made a point of contacting all of you immediately, even last night, in order to get their slanted side of the story out first. Do not be fooled by this propaganda. You in the media have a moral responsibility to investigate all of the facts, not just statements you are fed by them.


I would encourage you to interview the planes’ captain, the first class steward and the gate ticket taker to confirm the following facts.


These are the correct facts:


The airline employee taking tickets reported to the crew that she felt very uncomfortable with the men and so she engaged one of them in a conversation to feel him out. I assume he spoke English to her in their conversation. She stated she felt uncomfortable with them and she felt they were extreme fundamentalists. She needs to be interviewed by the news media for her side of the story.


Several passengers observed the men praying and chanting near the gate prior to boarding. They were sitting apart from everyone else, behind the wall which stands behind the ticket counter at the gate. I was eating dinner while they were praying and chanting and did not observe this part, but spoke with a passenger, after we disembarked who has observed this.


I seem to remember hearing something on the news after 911 about the terrorists praying at the airport prior to departing on 911. If this is true then there is a legitimate cause for concern and doing so created an inflammatory situation. If it is their custom to pray at a certain time each day at sunset, they know this in advance and easily could have taken the 7pm flight, two hours later, doing their prayers prior to arriving at the airport. One question is: were they intentionally trying to create fear in the passengers by praying loudly in public, hoping to get removed from the plane?


I took a seat next to the men about 20 minutes prior to boarding. (I had been having dinner earlier and did not observe their prayers.) They spoke no English while seated next to me only Arabic, or what ever language they speak. One of the gentlemen acted very intense and nervous. He was on one phone call the entire time talking very fast while he paced back and forth in front of me. I said nothing to anyone about this, but was later told by first class passengers that this same conversation continued for at least another hour from his front row seat in first class. A man in the third row of first class told me he had a very uncomfortable feeling about this man.


Their seating arrangement was very unusual and it raised a red flag to the crew. Only one of the 6 sat in first class, with the telephone, although they were all together. The rest sat in coach. The second one sat in the first row of coach in front of me; I think another mid way back in the plane and the rest in the very rear of the plane. They were there early enough to get seats together but chose to spread out.


Another strange thing the crew noticed was the way they boarded. When they made the call for first class passengers the other 5 boarded as well.


The one in first class, which had been on the telephone, did not stay seated in his first class seat, but walked back to the rear of the plane twice to talk to his friends, during the delay.


One of the passengers sitting close to them in the rear of the plane overheard their conversation and became very nervous. I believe he may have been the one who sent the note up to the crew and captain. I was told later that there was mention of Allah and the word terrorists in their conversation.


A woman passenger, who understood their language, indicated they were making slanderous remarks about the American people, thinking no one would know what they were saying. This raised concern also.


The most suspicious thing, which has not yet been mentioned on the news, and needs to come out publicly, is the fact that the man in the first class front row asked for and was given a seat belt extender as did one of the men in the rear of the plane.


This can be confirmed by the male steward serving first class on the flight. The strange and totally unexplainable thing about this request by them was the fact that neither of these men was fat enough to even need an extender strap for their seatbelt in the first place and the crew noticed that they not even put it on but placed them on the floor by their feet. Why ask for them and not use them, especially if you don’t even need one?


I was a witness to the seat belt extender on the floor in first class, as the steward asked me to hand him so he could show it to the FBI and the Police. It was a totally detachable strap about 18" in length that could easily be used as a noose around a flight attendant or passenger’s neck to create a hostage situation on the plane.


With one in the back of the plane and another in the front and their people positioned in between they were perfectly positioned to take control of the entire plane with out any weapons.


The captain, crew, police and FBI all obviously also felt this was a real possibility when combined with the note passed to them by an obviously shaken man who had heard some of their conversation. Put all of this together along with the fact that the ticket agent at the gate was not comfortable and a couple of other passenger observations it added up to a situation of possible danger.


Should the Airline, crew and captain be blamed for deciding to protect the safely of several hundred passengers after their lengthy deliberation of the facts?


No, it was not just a note from a paranoid passenger as reported on television, but many things that just added up to a very uncomfortable feeling. The airline, police and FBI acted responsibly, professionally and in the interest of the majority of passengers. Any potential law suits from these people are totally unfounded and ludicrous.


Doesn’t the fact that these men already had an attorney lined up to immediately alert the media seem like a “pre-set up deal” to get the airlines and security to back off and ease up on the high alert issue?


Did they even tell their own attorney about the seat belt extenders sitting on the floor? Probably not.


With all of their accusations on CNBC’s morning news about passenger paranoia put aside there is still no answer to a very simple question… What were they going to do with the seat belt extenders?


Why did they have one in the front and one in the back of the plane and why were they sitting on the floor by their feet and not in use?


I can only determine two possible scenarios:


Either they were planning to use the seat belt extenders to subdue hostages and take over the plane and were caught by their suspicious activities…


Or, it was done intentionally to induce suspicion and make a big public fuss to intimidate security at the airports.


They claim we have discriminated against them and they were humiliated. They fail to accept the fact that what happened to them on flight 300 was a direct result of their own people’s hateful behavior on 911, while once more trying to put the blame for everything on the Americans.


What about the human rights of the several hundred people sitting on flight 300?


Most of the passengers were going home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Don’t we have the right to get home safely for Thanksgiving? Any psychologist will tell you they were simply trying to project the blame for this unfortunate event back at the airline in order to avoid any personal responsibility for their actions, or the actions of the 911 terrorists.


Upon watching the 5 o’clock news tonight I heard more about this incident. Now they are reporting the men to be clerics. Last night at 1 pm they were calling themselves scholars who were attending a conference.


It would be interesting what kind of a conference they had been attending. I question, from my close personal observations of them prior to boarding that they are either. I would also like to see this investigated also. I believe there is a real story here that the American public deserves. US Airlines has been caught off guard by these accusations and is being painted as the bad guy, stating they will make their own internal investigation.


Why, all of a sudden now, are they made to look guilty by the media? Only the media can clear the air on the truth here. They need your help and support in this matter.


Let’s not sweep this under the rug as yesterday’s news. I challenge the news media to investigate the real facts of these backgrounds, what had they been attending in Minneapolis as well as interview the crew and people involved bringing the real truth to the American public. They deserve the truth, for the future of their own safely. Please do not just let this matter drop.


Thank you!


Pauline Klemmer (telephone number and address removed for safety)





Note from Rayelan:


I found this article:


Coming Face-to-Face With Islam

December 01, 2006 01:00 PM EST


Monday, November 20, 2006 was a gray, cloudy day in Minneapolis, the kind of day that people in the South picture as being typical of that time of year in Minnesota, and Pauline Klemmer was on her way home to Arizona after an all-too-brief visit with family and friends in Minneapolis – all those aunts, uncles, cousins, and high school classmates who hadn’t as yet moved on to warmer climates.


Pauline’s U.S. Airways flight to Phoenix, Flight 300, was scheduled for departure at 5:15 PM. However, assuming that the airport would be crowded with Thanksgiving week travelers, she planned her arrival at the airport for 3:45 PM. This, she thought, would give her ample time to check her bags, get a seat assignment and boarding pass, and make her way through the long lines at the TSA airport security check.


Arriving at the airport just ahead of Pauline were six bearded men, all of apparent Middle Eastern descent. They were returning to Arizona after attending a weekend conference of the North American Imams Federation (NAIF) at the Ramada Inn Mall of America in Minneapolis.


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In fact Gareth, I read it 6 days ago in Newsweek Arabic edition, but I didn't talked about it because I thought that nobady will care.


I went through the Newsweek English edition to bring it here by searching the writer Matthew Philips.



‘Flying While Muslim’


When six Muslim leaders were pulled off an airplane this week, some advocacy groups said it was another example of religious and racial profiling.



061118_MuslimPassengers_wid.hlarge.jpgJanet Hostetter / AP


Omar Shahin purchased a ticket from Northwest Airlines on Tuesday after being removed from a U.S. Airways flight the previous evening




By Jessica Bennett and Matthew Philips




Updated: 6:00 p.m. ET Nov. 22, 2006


Nov. 22, 2006 - As a Muslim-American and president of the North American Imams Federation, Dr. Omar Shahin is no stranger to the heightened security of a post-9/11 world. On more than one occasion, the Phoenix, Ariz., resident says he’s been picked out of a crowd by the color of his skin—interrogated, finger printed or detained. So when Shahin headed to the airport Monday with five other imams for a flight out of Minneapolis—where the NAIF had met for a conference—the group did everything they could to avoid suspicion, according to Shahin. They wore Western clothes, he says. The men spoke only English. They didn’t book their seats together. And when it came time to conduct their sunset-time prayers, Shahin says, they did so quietly, and not all together—hoping to avoid any unwanted attention.


But when the group boarded their U.S. Airways flight bound for Phoenix, on which Shahin (a frequent flier on the airline) had been upgraded to first class, they would never leave the ground. After finding their seats and preparing for takeoff, Shahin and the other imams were escorted from the flight in handcuffs after a passenger handed a note to a flight attendant expressing concern over the group's “suspicious activity,” according to the airport police report. After several hours of questioning by federal authorities, the group was released. Yet though the airline refunded their tickets, U.S. Airways—which released a statement Tuesday saying it does "not tolerate discrimination of any kind"—reportedly denied them passage on any of its other flights and refused to help them obtain tickets through another airline. "This was the worst moment in my life," says Shahin, who, after an overnight delay, was able to get himself and his colleagues a flight on Northwest Airlines. "When they took us off the plane, six big leaders, it was very humiliating." U.S. Airways told NEWSWEEK late Wednesday that it would not comment on the case beyond its issued statement.


What was the group’s suspicious activity? According to the report filed by the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport police, the group’s loud chants of “Allah, Allah, Allah,” initially drew the suspicion of nearby passengers—one of whom said he heard the imams make anti-American comments regarding the war in Iraq. Once on the flight, the men—who allegedly boarded the plane with no carry-on luggage and used one-way tickets—seated themselves in pairs, two at the front of the plane, two in the middle, and two in the rear (all according to the police report). The men, three of whom are U.S. citizens, two of whom have green cards and one who has a worker's permit, also allegedly asked the flight crew for seat belt extensions.


But Shahin, a lawyer, disputes many of these details. He says everyone in the group had round-trip tickets that he had booked—and that he has the documentation to prove it. The reason he was at the front of the flight was because he was upgraded to first class because he’s a frequent flyer on the airline. And the reason he asked for a seatbelt extension? Shahin says his 290-pound frame should make that obvious. As for the anti-American remarks, Shahin says the group was talking about the conference, which, ironically, was focused on building bridges to the non-Muslim community. And to avoid this very type of incident, Shahin says he’d already notified both the F.B.I. and local Minneapolis police department of the NAIF conference, as a precaution. “What they claim [in the police report] is just not true," he says.


Shahin and the North American Imams Federation say they’ve consulted their lawyer, and have called for a boycott of U.S. Airways. They’re also being backed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based advocacy group that has demanded U.S. Airways launch an immediate investigation (which the airline says it has done) and has called on the U.S. Department of Justice and the Transportation Security Administration to conduct separate investigations of the incident. (CAIR says it has received a letter from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties saying that it has opened a review of the case.) “Since 9-11, we’ve seen a great number of racial and religious ethnic profiling resulting in people being taken off airplanes summarily because they are Muslim,” said CAIR Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar, who says the Imam case is another example of “flying while Muslim.” “Reactions like this to Muslims praying really strike at the heart of the fear and prejudice that’s still so prevalent in this country.”


This is at least the second time this year that U.S. Airways has removed a Muslim from a plane. In August, Rima Qayyum, a 28-year-old substitute teacher, was taken off a flight and detained for 14 hours at West Virginia's Tri-State Airport when security officials reportedly mistook her facewash and bottled water for possible bomb-making ingredients. Nationwide, according to CAIR's latest civil rights report, for 2005, complaints of anti-Muslim harassment, violence and discrimination have gone up 30 percent since the year prior. Additionally, for the second year in a row, the 1,972 reports received in 2005 mark the highest number of Muslim civil rights complaints ever reported to CAIR in its 12-year history.


Observant American Muslims—who must pray five times daily—are left with a dilemma. How do they maintain their religious faith without attracting attention in an environment of heightened fear? Some ask why they should be expected to change their behavior in a country that promises religious freedom. Amine Chigani, a Ph.D. student at Virginia Tech, raises some of these questions—and more—in a Wednesday e-mail to CAIR: “Is there anything that I should do so I won't have the same experience as our imams did?" she writes. "I mean, should I ask the plane crew while I get seated that I will need to pray at a certain time, or should I tell them during check in? Should I explain to the passenger next to me that I will be praying? And if the worst happens and they ask me to leave, should I? ... I am willing to do anything to avoid [causing problems], except not to pray. Please advise!” Chigani is traveling to Seattle in December.


Patrick Hogan, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which owns and operates the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, says that everyone should have a right to pray, but that in this day and age, “people must be sensitive to how their actions might impact those around them.”


But Shahin says his group took every precaution possible. “That's my question to the people,” Shahin says. “What more do I have to do? I am American, I speak this language, I do everything by the book and I’m still suspicious. I cannot change the color of my skin.”


The link: http://ori.msnbc.msn.com/id/15856333/site/newsweek/

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It's totally ridiculous and discrimination in the country alleged freedom.


wow, I'm glad somewhere talked about it. Funny how it missed the US News.....


Also, this is all fishy and the possibility that the tough talking about 'discrimination' will cause US sercurity to step down think twice about making moves against suspects incase of lawsuits, which might allow a 'real' threat through. (by real of course I mean provoked or staged)

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ok well from what that letter says, they were acting suspicious, i would have alerted the crew, and disembarked off the airplane. If i feel unsafe in any way, i wont fly.



And sure its racial profiling, but how many chinese or indian or black people have hijacked airplanes and flown them into buildings? Its human nature now, that when you see muslim people acting very suspicious as they were, to question their motives

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ok well from what that letter says, they were acting suspicious, i would have alerted the crew, and disembarked off the airplane. If i feel unsafe in any way, i wont fly.



And sure its racial profiling, but how many chinese or indian or black people have hijacked airplanes and flown them into buildings? Its human nature now, that when you see muslim people acting very suspicious as they were, to question their motives


Omar Shahin a famous man and they upgraded him to first class because he frequent flier on the airline, so they must know him, then you came and saying he is suspicious. What a world

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