November 24, 2006
Written by C.N.
On the heels of an Iranian American student at UCLA being tazered by police for not showing his student ID, as CBS News reports, the latest incident of racial profiling against Muslims and Arab Americans involves six Muslims Imams recently being removed from a US Airways flight and detained, all because a passenger and the flight crew became suspicious when they prayed aloud as part of their daily routine as Muslims:
A passenger initially raised concerns about the group through a note passed to a flight attendant, according to Andrea Rader, a spokeswoman for US Airways. She said police were called after the captain and airport security workers asked the men to leave the plane and the men refused. . . . Three of them stood and said their normal evening prayers together on the plane, as 1.7 billion Muslims around the world do every day, Shahin said. He attributed any concerns by passengers or crew to ignorance about Islam. . . .
“The [Council on American-Islamic Relations] will be filing a complaint with relevant authorities in the morning over the treatment of the imams to determine whether the incident was caused by anti-Muslim hysteria by the passengers and/or the airline crew,” Hooper said. “Because, unfortunately, this is a growing problem of singling out Muslims or people perceived to be Muslims at airports, and it’s one that we’ve been addressing for some time.”
Whenever I hear of incidents like this, on the one hand, I am not shocked to see that Muslims and Arab Americans are still being targeted for suspicion and unequal treatment. On the other hand, even though I know things like this keep occurring, it still makes my blood boil to see just how ignorant and intolerant Americans can be towards people who are different from the White majority norm.
This kind of ignorance is also reflected in the comments to the CBS News article left by “average” readers who defend the treatment towards the Imams and actually blame them for being Muslim and apparently bringing on this treatment onto themselves by merely practicing their religion. I really don’t have the time or energy to point out all the fallacies and prejudices in their arguments, but suffice it to say that judging by the recent election results, their extremist, ignorant, and intolerant opinions are thankfully in the minority of Americans.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Latest Racial Profiling Incident Against Muslims" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2006/11/latest-racial-profiling-incident-against-muslims/> ().
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