And, "Once they were seen praying, every action they took became suspicious in the eyes of some passengers." That's wrong, because Americans have the right to pray in public.
CAIR supports the suit, including the targeting of John Doe passengers, Hooper told me, because, "If somebody believes they have been discriminated against maliciously and willfully, they have a right to challenge that discrimination." This suit, he argued, comes from the imams' desire "to clear their names."
Here's the problem: The imams are not going to clear their names by going after passengers who, rightly or wrongly, alerted airline personnel to the imams.
By so doing, the lawsuit reinforces the suspicion that the imams were acting in a deliberately provocative manner. At the very least, the imams were utterly insensitive to passengers' fears of a 9/11-like attack.
"It was not just one thing," Nolting noted. "It was a series of behaviors. I assume it was the pilot, based on the totality of the information he had, that made him conclude that he didn't want these folks on his plane."
Nolting added, "I don't know too many businesses who like to turn away paying customers." Or, as Jasser put it, "I think they were trying to make a point." That point could be to further "the victimization agenda of organizations like CAIR."
This much is clear: If CAIR and the imams want to prompt those who are suspicious of Islam to rethink their prejudices and be sensitive to the Muslim perspective, they picked a truly boneheaded way to do it.
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