In Defense of the Constitution

News & Analysis

010/07  March 19, 2007

     Americans:  We Were All on US Airways Flight 300

     On 13 March, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced that six imams who had disrupted a US Airways flight by engaging in suspicious behavior, have filed a lawsuit against US Airways and the Minnesota Metropolitan Airport Commission (MAC) claiming a laundry-list of civil rights violations:

     In addition to suing the airline and the MAC, the “Magnificent Six” are going after unknown gate agents, other unknown employees of US Airways, and “John Does”; currently unidentified passengers who, according to the complaint, had the effrontery to dare to report the suspicious activities of these men to authorities.

     The following was written by Katherine Kersten on 14 March and appeared in the

“The imams' attempt to bully ordinary passengers marks an alarming new front
in the war on airline security. Average folks, "John Does" like you and me, initially
observed and reported the imams' suspicious behavior on Nov. 20. Such people are
our "first responders" against terrorism. But the imams' suit may frighten such
individuals into silence, as they seek to avoid the nightmare of being
labeled bigots and named as defendants.”

“Ironically, on the day the imams filed their suit, a troubling internal memo
came to light at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The memo
revealed that our airport is at particular risk of terrorist attack because of its
proximity to the Mall of America, its employment of relatively few security officers
and other factors. The memo advised heightened vigilance to counter
"this very real and deliberate threat."

     All non-Muslim Americans have been officially put on notice by CAIR that they report the suspicious activities of Muslims at risk of legal action. 

     However, what about the role of the federal and state governments, which routinely ask citizens to report “suspicious activity” even if they are not quite sure it is dangerous on the presumption that “it’s better to be safe than sorry?  Who do we listen to, an Islamist terrorist supporting “civil rights” group, or our governments?

     Let us ask ourselves, what is the ultimate goal of this lawsuit?  Could it possibly be to make citizens second-guess themselves when they witness a possible terrorist act or precursor probe and to err on the side of not reporting under threat of lawsuit? 

     Why does CAIR apparently support the ending of this “first line of defense”? 

     One thing we are certain of ... it has absolutely nothing to do with civil rights, Muslim or otherwise. 

     As this case moves to trial, we hope all Americans will stand in solidarity with the passengers,  US Airways, and its employees who were terrorized that day.

     When the trial opens, we should all remember that we were passengers on US Airways Flight 300 that day…because if the "Magnificent Six" win their case, what person in their right mind will want to travel by air within the United States, knowing that security personnel are under orders to ignore Middle Eastern passengers, no matter how suspicious their activities?

Andrew Whitehead

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