Flying While Counter-Jihad

Or, Why You Should Never Fly American Airlines

According to a fawning write-up in the New York Times, Roula Allouch of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is worried about “Islamophobia” in airports because, she claims, people sometimes give her “a hard, strong stare and a stern look.” 

Horror of horrors! People give me “a hard, strong stare and a stern look” in airports all the time; I’ve always thought that it was because they weren’t thinking about me at all, but were preoccupied with making their flight and other pressing matters. But Roula Allouch appears sure that everyone who doesn’t give her a cheery grin is an “Islamophobe” who quietly disapproves of her hijab, and of course, she knows better.

Allouch elaborates: “Our main concerns during this time of heightened Islamophobia are mosque attacks, bullying against students and traveling — they’re equally discussed. More and more people are being deplaned because they’re Muslim. For instance, one student was asked to leave a flight because he was speaking Arabic. What seems to be happening frequently is if another passenger on the plane has a complaint, the person they’re complaining about is asked to deboard. We’re a country that operates with civil rights. It’s very arbitrary and very troubling.”

In reality, however, the claim that Muslims are singled out for special examination or harassment in airports is wholly baseless. Many who claim they were persecuted for “Flying While Muslim” really were acting suspiciously. Allouch said that “one student was asked to leave a flight because he was speaking Arabic.” That was the case of a young Muslim named Khairuldeen Makhzoomi. According to the Dallas Morning News, “Makhzoomi, an Iraqi refugee and senior at the University of California Berkeley, was removed from an April 6 flight from Los Angeles to Oakland after another passenger told crew she overheard ‘potentially threatening comments.’ Makhzoomi’s comments came during a conversation with his uncle.”

There is, however, just one catch: “A Southwest Airlines passenger who overheard a college student’s conversation also spoke Arabic and perceived the comments to be threatening, according to a new Southwest Airlines statement.”

Interestingly enough, Roula Allouch doesn’t seem to have apprised her New York Times interviewer about that little detail. She was more concerned with complaining about the “stern look” she supposedly receives. Oh, the humanity! 

If Roula Allouch really wants to know what it’s like to be gratuitously harassed while flying, let her declare that she doesn’t think Islam is a religion of peace. For well over a year now, every time I fly American Airlines, which up until recently has been almost every week, I’ve been subjected to extensive and time-consuming extra security checks. This never happened when I flew any other airline, only American — but I was a Platinum frequent flyer on American, so it happened often.

After repeated inquiries, I finally found that it was because American Airlines and British Airways are partner airlines, and British Airways was requiring that I be subjected to these extra security checks to make sure I wasn’t flying to Britain. I am, of course, banned by the British government from traveling to Britain because I noted (correctly) that Islam is “a religion and is a belief system that mandates warfare against unbelievers.” I wasn’t banned for any criminal activity and have no criminal record. It is, moreover, perfectly clear from my flight ticket in every case that I am not traveling to Britain. Hence these extra security checks to make sure I am not flying to Britain simply constitute harassment, mandated by British Airways and perpetrated by American Airlines.

I wrote to American Airlines explaining the situation, noting that I had been a loyal and frequent customer for many years, and asking that they stop the extra security checks. All I got back was a form letter. So apparently American Airlines only wants the business of those who believe Islam is a religion of peace. Very well. I will go elsewhere, and I hope you will, too, and avoid American Airlines whenever possible.

That’s harassment: Flying While Counter-Jihad. A stern look in an airport, Ms. Allouch? That’s not harassment.

I wrote this article while utilizing in-flight Internet on a Delta Airlines flight.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.