Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Now banned on aircraft: praying.

Air Canada staff saw the bearded man praying in a strange way, uttering words in a Middle Eastern language. He seemed obsessed, and wouldn't respond to crew requests to stop. So they turned the plane around and had police take him off. It was a "delicate" situation, said the airline. "The crew had to act in the interest of the majority of passengers."

Some folks will no doubt defend the actions of the airline and the paranoid fears of the passengers.

But the Jewish community in Montreal is very upset.
[Via Bill Cork. Here's the CBC story.] This is just ludicrous. And I'm sure in the more rightish areas of the blogosphere there'd be nods of approval had the man been Muslim. Let's hope there's proper outrage at just what this is: bigotry and anti-Semitism. Pure and simple. It would have been equally absurd had the man, in fact, been Muslim ... or Hindu or Christian ... how paranoid are we really?
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assiniboine said...

All that, yes. (One hesitates to suggest that this might not have been the reaction on a flight out of TO rather than Mtl; but it is not unknown for our francophone brethren to be mildly anxious about les maudits éthniques.) The last line of the CBC story is, however, remarkably heartening: "The Jewish group B'nai Brith Canada has offered to help give Air Canada crews sensitivity training." One wonders how many would react so even-handedly. You've been out of contact for some time or I'd have reported a rather interesting episode last week in Australia....

Anonymous said...


What would happen if you were praying the rosery in Latin?

I wonder if people would react weird based upon your background. That, and you photographing the interior of the airplane. (Grin)



assiniboine said...

Well, Dogwood, if you check the CBC article there was a terribly discouraging sentence towards the end: "The attendant actually recognized out loud that he wasn't a Muslim and that she was sorry for the situation but they had to ask him to leave."

Kevin said...

Anon, my family looks at me funny if I pray in Latin. Latin is old, they say.

Gashwin said...

Dogwood: the only person who's reacted weirdly to my taking photographs of the cockpit seated in a regional jet was one Peter that we all know ... :) I guess that "Howdy y'all" is a useful weapon of self-defense.

Kevin: Latin rocks! :) I have no idea how to translate that into Latin ...St. Izzy?