Muslim woman removed from flight because of her attitude, not her religion (Opinion)
Amani Al-Khatahtbeh is angry. She’s a Muslim woman who ran for NJ Congress and is damn proud of herself, proclaiming loudly on her Twitter “first Muslim woman to run for Congress in New Jersey. The New York Times calls me a media titan.”
She was asked to leave an American Airlines flight from Newark and believes it because it was because she is Muslim, NJ.com reports. But actually there’s way more to the story.
People have altercations in airports and on airplanes are asked to leave flights all the time without regard for race or religion. The story is simple. Al-Khatahtbeh bent over to take her shoes off in the TSA screening line and a man walked in front of her. She became incensed that the man “cut in front of her“ and gave him lip. The man told her that he had the TSA pre-check designation and therefore could go in front of her because those with pre-check are not required to remove their shoes.
They continued arguing and when they finally got on the plane she was, apparently, being disruptive. Since she was in the wrong, she was asked to leave the plane but refused to do so unless the gentleman she was arguing with was removed too. But here’s the thing: If you pay for TSA pre-check, you are afforded very little.
It’s a pain in the neck to get it. You have to drive somewhere — either the airport or a government office — to be fingerprinted and pay the fee. The two privileges you are allowed are expedited boarding and not having to remove your shoes. Therefore, the guy who walked in front of her probably had every right to do so. But Al-Khatahtbeh was not convinced. She tweeted “Simply flying as a Muslim woman makes people uncomfortable.... unbelievable,”.
No, actually a person of any race, religion or creed can be asked to leave an airplane if they are involved in a verbal altercation, especially if they are in the wrong and refuse to admit it. Al-Khatahtbeh is using her religion to try to make her right when she’s not. She may get sympathy from many people because, let’s face it, there are narrow-minded people who may feel uncomfortable around her on an airplane.
But this was not one of those cases. I’m sure she’s felt that from people. And it probably hurts. But Amani Al-Khatahtbeh has made herself a “media titan” and a brand. Maybe a media personality and blogger thinks she can get more follows and/or likes or bring some attention to herself by claiming that this was because of her religion. There may have been times where she was discriminated against because of the Hijab she wears, but this was not one of those times.
As much as it would be reprehensible to remove someone from a flight because of her religion, we are entering dangerous times if you cannot remove someone who DESERVES to be removed because of her religion.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.