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My god...The Co-Pilot's a Muslim, too!


Our Corporate air transporters are very sensitive to passenger concerns. Not so much about air travel, but definitely about baseless accusations of terrorism.

Maybe They Only Profiled Him Because He Went To Berkeley

On October 5, Muslim advocacy organization CAIR filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation concerning an incident in April in which Southwest Airlines removed Iraqi-American Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, a 26-year-old Berkeley graduate, from a plane at Los Angeles International Airport. He probably did something really bad like molest a teenager or slap a black baby.

Once seated, [Makhzoomi] had made a brief call to his uncle in Baghdad, telling him how excited he was to ask a question to the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, during a dinner the previous day. Before hanging up, he said the Islamic phrase in Arabic of "inshallah", meaning "God willing".

Ban Ki-Moon?? Was the question, "What airline should I terrorize with my exotic language?" Back when this was first reported, Yr Wonkette mocked the usual lunatic suspicious of the UN and its diabolical socialist plans. Luckily the passenger in seat 1776USofA came to the rescue.

[Makhzoomi] noticed a woman staring at him as he hung up the phone. He thought at first she had been irritated by how loud he was speaking.

Oh, I'm sure she was bothered by that as well. The citizen air marshal notified airline employees and within minutes multiple uniformed authority figures escorted Makhzoomi (no relation to Doktor MakhZoomi) from the plane.

An agent escorted him outside and asked him why he was speaking in Arabic considering "today’s political climate".

Honestly, why was he using his native language to speak with a relative in an Arabic-speaking country? This is one of the story's many mysteries -- like why don't the calming oxygen masks automatically deploy whenever a passenger uses Farsi, Arabic, or one of THOSE languages?

After realizing how stupid they looked, law enforcement apologized, correct?

"You need to be very honest with us with what you said about the martyrs. Tell us everything you know about the martyrs," the agent said to him.

The political science graduate explained he had only said “God willing”, and the questioning soon ended -- but not before dogs were brought in to sniff his luggage, he was searched and his wallet was taken away.

A young Iraqi talking loudly about martyrs -- or at least God, who surely wants martyrs -- on a plane, eh? Sounds like a totally devious terrorist mastermind. Sorry for the mixup, though! And stop calling God "Shirley." But after this violation of Makhzoomi's privacy that caused him to miss his flight, they apologized to him, correct?

[Makhzoomi] has called on the airline to apologise since they have failed to do so since 6 April

Well we can't expect Southwest to maintain its low prices if it spends all its time apologizing to every brown guy who's wrongly removed from a flight.

Not So Funny When It Happens To A Paleface, Is It?

Speaking of grave injustices, fossil fuel consultant Mary Campos just wanted to board her United Airlines flight when the ticket agent up and told her she was going to have to move seats because the two dudes seated next to her have "cultural beliefs that prevent them from sitting next to, talking to or communicating with females."

Campos was flabbergasted because not only were these men, these were Pakistani priests who travel with seriously sexist restrictions.

Like Campos, we're inclined to say 'F these guys' and their demands. Take your coach seat and suffer like the rest of us -- with The Big Bang Theory blaring on a monitor you can't shut off. But United decided to acquiesce to the priests' demands, thus deescalating any possible confrontation or awkwardness. Was it the right thing to do? Not in Ms. Campos's opinion.

“I thought I lived in a culture where females were equal to men,” Campos said.

"What, America?!" everyone answered. And we all had a good laugh while somebody pulled out a wage inequality chart.

At this point, Campos is not going to sue, but she makes two demands of United:

  • Apologize to every female that was on that plane, including their employees.
  • Change their policy.

We get being stubborn on principle. That takes up most of our spare time. But let's take a couple monastic moments of reflection to really consider what happened here.

Did Mary Campos receive an inferior seat? Did any harm come to her in the new seat? Was she forced to sit between Todd Starnes and Alex Jones? That would be a human rights violation. Otherwise, sorry Mary. Mr. Makhzoomi was discriminated against. You were slightly inconvenienced because a couple of passengers possess antiquated beliefs that aren't cool with most American air travelers, and you'd be perfectly justified in giving them the stink eye and a copy of The Feminine Mystique. And United, you may want to rethink accommodating the requests of people with medieval gender beliefs -- if it happens again, bump the lady to First Class.

[Editrix's note: I'm with the lady. Fuck those guys, and United bowing to someone's shitty religious belief that women shouldn't be seen or heard is discriminatory. Isn't it nice how we can all disagree?]

[Independent / CBS News]

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