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Mike Ghouse
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Showing posts with label Praying in Plane. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Praying in Plane. Show all posts

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Praying Passenger removed

Praying passenger removed from S.F.-bound flight at JFK
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2008/04/praying-passenger-removed.html

NEW YORK - A passenger who left his seat to pray in the back of a plane before it took off, ignoring flight attendants' orders to return, was removed by an airport security guard, a witness and the airline said.

The Orthodox religious man, who wore a full beard, stood near the lavatories and began saying his prayers while the United Airlines jet was being boarded at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday night, fellow passenger Ori Brafman said.

When flight attendants urged the man, who was carrying a religious book, to take his seat, he ignored them, Brafman said. Two friends, who were seated, tried to tell the attendants that the man couldn't stop until his prayers were over in about 2 minutes, he said.

"He doesn't respond to them, but his friends explain that once you start praying you can't stop," said Brafman, who was seated three rows away.

When the man finally stopped praying, he explained that he couldn't interrupt his religious ritual and wasn't trying to be rude. But the attendants summoned a guard to remove him, said Brafman, a writer who had been visiting New York to talk to publishers.

The plane, Flight 9 to San Francisco, took off without the man. It landed at its destination as scheduled, Brafman said by telephone from his home there.

Robin Urbanski, a spokeswoman for United Airlines, a subsidiary of UAL Corp. with headquarters in Chicago, confirmed the man was taken off the plane and put on another flight Thursday morning.

Urbanski said flights cannot depart if all passengers are not in their seats, which risk a delay, and it is important that passengers listen to the instructions of the flight crew.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs area airports, and the Transportation Security Administration, which handles airport security, said Thursday they weren't involved in the incident.

# # # end of the report

CAVEAT: Please be aware that in the above report I had removed a few words; the correct report is in the following link, produced below my notes as well. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080418/ap_on_re_us/praying_passenger

If your response was right when you read the above report whether it was a Muslim or a Jew, then you have passed the morality and fairness test, which should be the same no matter who the wronged individual is.

Please share your thoughts as you were reading the report above, as you may have read the right wing media popularized the story called " flying imams" who were removed from the plane as they were praying. By the way, the man removed was Jewish, not Muslim, next time around I hope it would be a Hindu and a Sikh and a Zoroastrian.... We have to weed out our own prejudices.

In the case of flying Imams, they could have prayed earlier or later if they expected unforeseen contingencies, the religion offered them the option. In the case of Jewish man, I don't know if he had such an allowance or not. (I will update after talking over with my Jewish friends).

What is important in life? To pray to the creator whom we owe our existence or to the temporary needs of life? Each person has different priorities and we need to learn to respect them.

With the flying Imams, the media dogs were barking with joy, the talk show hosts and TV heads got their fodder for weeks. Their survival is dependent on maligning and attacking the vulnerable.

CAIR took the case head-on, and I had opposed one aspect of the deal from day one, that the passengers who told on them should not be sued. Now, I hope CAIR and the Jewish Organizations take on this to bring some mends in dealing with religious persons.

May be an announcement is due at the beginning to include that those who want to say their prayers, do it before a specific time. The question that pops is do we make laws for one or two passengers? The answer is yes, we are a nation of civility and respecting individual’s right is a matter of pride, that all of us can take.

We have to stand up even for a single person who is different than us. At the Foundation for Pluralism we make every attempt to include faith (or not faith) traditions that are barely represented. Yes we have added things when there was only one. Each one of us and every organization can build that civil value one occasion at a time.

Prophet Muhammad envisioned an ideal civil society where a single woman loaded with Jewelry, a child or an old person can travel from Madinah to Damascus without fear. India’s First Governor General Shri Rajgopal Achari had repeated the same words and I am pleased to write it again and again. We should aspire for such a goal. It is the individuals who go against the civic and religious guidelines and we have to rope in one person at a time into the circle of civility.

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, politics, Islam, Religion, Terrorism, India and civic issues. He is the founder of the World Muslim Congress, a group committed to building bridges and nurturing a world of co-existence. He also heads the foundation for pluralism, an organization committed to studying religious pluralism and pluralistic governance. His personal website is http://www.mikeghouse.net/ and his writings are on the above websites as well as several of the ancillary Blogs listed on the sites.

Here is the original report word for word

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080418/ap_on_re_us/praying_passenger

NEW YORK - A passenger who left his seat to pray in the back of a plane before it took off, ignoring flight attendants' orders to return, was removed by an airport security guard, a witness and the airline said.

The Orthodox Jewish man, who wore a full beard, a black hat and a long black coat, stood near the lavatories and began saying his prayers while the United Airlines jet was being boarded at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday night, fellow passenger Ori Brafman said.

When flight attendants urged the man, who was carrying a religious book, to take his seat, he ignored them, Brafman said. Two friends, who were seated, tried to tell the attendants that the man couldn't stop until his prayers were over in about 2 minutes, he said.

"He doesn't respond to them, but his friends explain that once you start praying you can't stop," said Brafman, who was seated three rows away.

When the man finally stopped praying, he explained that he couldn't interrupt his religious ritual and wasn't trying to be rude. But the attendants summoned a guard to remove him, said Brafman, a writer who had been visiting New York to talk to publishers.

The plane, Flight 9 to San Francisco, took off without the man. It landed at its destination as scheduled, Brafman said by telephone from his home there.

Robin Urbanski, a spokeswoman for United Airlines, a subsidiary of UAL Corp. with headquarters in Chicago, confirmed the man was taken off the plane and put on another flight Thursday morning.

Urbanski said flights cannot depart if all passengers are not in their seats, which risks a delay, and it is important that passengers listen to the instructions of the flight crew.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs area airports, and the Transportation Security Administration, which handles airport security, said Thursday they weren't involved in the incident.
###

SELECTED COMMENTS:

from Dr. Benkin
Dear Mike,

Great job--and I am glad to know I did pass your fairness test. (There is at least one Imam and a fundamentalist Muslim group in Bangladesh that has praised me for defending Islam, though I am a known Zionist and anti-Islamist radical. That is, we must be careful not to conflate our legitimate concerns from violent radicals--most but not all Muslims--with religiosity.)

As a very frequent flyer, I would like to give some perspective on this matter--and as you so ably crafted the test, the insights apply to any and all religious individuals who fly.

We frequent flyers often (but not all the time by any means) run into airplane personnel who are almost fascist-like in the way they direct passengers. And as this was a United flight, I feel even more qualified to speak as UAL is by far my preferred US carrier. The vast majority of UAL flight attendants are incredibly gracious and helpful, but there are others (and I actually have encountered this more on other airlines) who seem to feel that they can justify insensitivity with reference to "security." On the one hand, the treatment described could have been meted out to anyone doing anything other than sitting in his or her seat, seatbelt buckled, tray table up, you know the drill. And, again as someone in the air as much as not, I am glad for the guards and marshals. I also believe that the praying man might have been able to avoid the incident by informing UAL or the attendant prior to the incident that he needed to pray quietly in the back of the plane and that it would be all over well before they had to tell the businessman in the next seat to turn off his cell phone. Also, that he would not be an impediment to boarding passengers, etc. I also believe that if he made this a religious rights issue (not stridently) in a telephone call to UAL prior to the flight, there would be no trouble. I would bet anything that something reasonable would have been worked out among the parties as long as everyone is in fact reasonable and genuine in their positions.

That being said, what happened seems wrong and wrong-headed. Clearly, the man was no security risk. Moreover, I have seen exceptions made to keeping people in their seats for a number of reasons, so long as doing so did not interfere with other passengers. For instance, I have seen long-legged people stand for a while because sitting in the seats is uncomfortable; I've seen people allowed to use the lavatory before take-off; I've seen others sitting in someone else's seat so they could talk to friends; and I have seen people cause far more disruption to the boarding process by moving up and down the aisles looking for overhead storage for their bags. Some flight attendants also are just "flighty" about getting the plane boarded and have a tough time dealing with any disruption to their idea of order.

You make a good point about the flying imams having a choice to pray otherwise, which is why it was seen as a political statement by many. As a Jew, I cannot say with certainty whether or not this man had the option to pray before boarding the plane. He might have, and if he chose to do otherwise, we can speculate as to whether it was a political statement or just bad judgment.

Dr. Richard L. Benkin
http://www.InterfaithStrength.com