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I feel safer already

Two passengers, both dressed in traditional Muslim attire, were removed from an airplane on Friday because passengers on the flight felt uncomfortable. The two men went through security screening three times, but the pilot refused to let them back on the airplane.

What makes this ironic is that the two men were on their way to a conference on prejudice against Muslims. One of the men who was removed is a professor at the University of Memphis.



  1. starluna wrote:

    At some point, someone needs to sue the airlines for Civil Rights violations. This is clearly discrimination on the basis of both (perceived) creed and national origin which violates section 601 of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

    Sunday, May 8, 2011 at 8:44 am | Permalink
  2. No u wrote:

    Yeah but they forced the pilot to take them passengers he would of been paranoid and worrying the entire flight. Do you want that out of your pilot?

    Sunday, May 8, 2011 at 9:26 am | Permalink
  3. NolaBill wrote:

    They were screened several times and determined to be safe passengers. They were removed because they are Muslim, and people still cannot accept the fact that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful people. That pilot’s racism is more of a danger to society than his paranoia while flying. I agree with Starluna.
    The only thing worse than extremism is extremism under the guise of “freedom”

    Sunday, May 8, 2011 at 9:51 am | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    If a pilot endangers a flight because of his racism, that would be a firing offense in my book.

    But Starluna, don’t you know that homeland security (the fear of terrorism) trumps all other laws? 🙁

    Sunday, May 8, 2011 at 10:11 am | Permalink
  5. ANONYMOUS wrote:

    Personally, I wouldn’t be afraid of people wearing “Muslim garb”. Terrorists are more likely to wear Western clothing in order to blend in with the crowd until they can act. (And no, that doesn’t mean that we should now discriminate against any Arabic-looking people who wear Western clothing.)

    Sunday, May 8, 2011 at 11:31 am | Permalink
  6. ebdoug wrote:

    This has happened with the Japanese 60 years ago (or more) and the Chinese. Besides the African Americans.

    Sunday, May 8, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink
  7. BTN wrote:

    I smell an easy lawsuit that would make any lawyer drool and a soon-to-be unemployed pilot…

    Sunday, May 8, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Permalink
  8. Effisland wrote:

    Since when has a pilot ever had the last word on aircraft safety? Sounds fishy

    Sunday, May 8, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Permalink
  9. Don wrote:

    From the Code of Federal Regulations § 91.3: Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.

    (a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.

    So, I guess it depends on how one defines operation. Curiously enough, the regulations are rather thin on defining what operations include and I could find no reference to the pilot in charge’s authority to screen passengers. I’m guessing, though, that operations includes all issues related to safety of the aircraft and its passengers.

    Does the pilot in charge have authority to ban passengers deemed a risk to the safety of the aircraft and its passengers? I’d say so under this very general and broad regulation. Can a pilot in charge’s actions be for any cause? I’m no lawyer, but I’d have to say no.

    In the case cited above, the pilot was outside his authority as it had been clearly demonstrated by the designated officials (the TSA) that the passengers in question were no threat to the aircraft or its passengers – having done so, it would appear, after the pilot first raised questions of the risk of allowing the two gentlemen to board the plane.

    So, Effisland, the pilot does, I believe not only have the last word relative to safety, he is clearly responsible for all activities on the aircraft from the time it moves under its own power until safely back on the ground and the engines shut down (this also from the regs). Can he kick someone off for looking like a threat even when such threat has been ruled out by the designated federal authority? I think IK and BKN may be onto something.

    Sunday, May 8, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Permalink
  10. Don wrote:

    Oh, I failed to point out that the pilot in charge has great discretion in an emergency and may undertake any actions to protect the safety of the aircraft and all those aboard. The PIC must justify its actions, though and this authority doesn’t apply until the plane is moving of its own power.

    Sunday, May 8, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Permalink
  11. No u wrote:

    To our point Effisland, a Taxi driver can accept and remove who they want and a bus driver also has the power to remove someone from the bus. Obviously the reasonings are different, but it’s in the pilots control I believe

    Monday, May 9, 2011 at 4:01 am | Permalink
  12. starluna wrote:

    The pilot and does have the authority to remove passengers. And I am not going to dispute that. I wish they would use it to kick off the drunk white guys that somehow frequently end up on my flights.

    I will however, second NOLABill and IK. Racism under the guise of public safety should not be tolerated. Period. It is still racism and it does not contribute to public safety.

    Homeland Security must follow the same civil rights laws as everyone else, as several court decisions have emphasized. Indeed, they have the same section 601 and 602 regulations that every other federal agency has which expressly prohibits both intentional and impact (or institutional) discrimination.

    Monday, May 9, 2011 at 7:12 am | Permalink
  13. ThatGuy wrote:

    To pretend that this removal has anything to do with safety is completely asinine. I’d also love to see a bus driver get away with removing someone from a plane just because they look like a Muslim.

    Monday, May 9, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink
  14. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    I agree with Anonymous. I’ve gotten into several discussions about “profiling” with some right wingers who demand that we should be doing it. Once we get into exactly what we should be profiling, the discussion always grows silly quickly.

    “We should be searching people that look like terrorists!”

    If you start ramping up security on all “Muslim looking” people, then terrorists will stop looking like “Muslims” (if they aren’t already). It’s about as silly as asking people to show you their terrorist card. No terrorist card? Must not be a terrorist.

    Hopefully the pilot gets whacked, but I doubt it. Hating on Muslims/Arabs seems to be the bigotry du-jour, somewhat ahead of homosexuals in the competition.

    Monday, May 9, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Permalink
  15. Anonymous wrote:

    I agree profiling and racism are 2 different things. However the context of the incident(soon after OBL’s demise) and the increased threat as reported by the gov’t, could have been a factor. Was it pilot paranoia or mistrust in the TSA’s ability to safeguard. Given their record of failing to stop new types of threats and the over compensating.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 4:56 am | Permalink
  16. RK wrote:

    Thatguy, I’d love to see a bus driver remove someone from a plane, too. Now THAT would be AUTHORITY! 🙂

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Permalink