Muslim Woman Felt Hatred on United Flight. So What?


A Muslim chaplain says she was mistreated on a United flight, and now she wants everyone to boycott United because of it.


Let’s grant that Tahera Ahmad was abused by a flight attendant and another passenger.  It’s inexcusable behavior by any airline employee.  It’s beneath civility for another passenger to treat anyone in the profane and uncouth way Ahmad claims she experienced.

I agree with Van Jones that the flight attendant, if she did what Ahmad claims, should be fired.  There’s plenty of people who are willing to serve Diet Coke on an airplane (and yes, I am fully aware that flight attendants do far, far more than that and put up with far more than they should—in no way do I demean them) without the attitude.

I don’t agree that United should be boycotted.  Boycotting an entire airline for the actions of one flight attendant is like boycotting an entire population for the actions of a few (like avoiding black-owned businesses because of what happened in Baltimore, for example).

Why would anyone respond to bigotry with more bigotry? And this brings me to another interesting point about the hashtag flying around Twitter:  #IslamophobiaISREAL.

“Islamophobia is real, not Islamophobia Israel” is about as upside-down a statement as you can find.

You see, if I wanted to fly anywhere in the world on one of the highest-rated luxury airlines in the world, I couldn’t.  Not because I can’t afford it (and I probably can’t), but even if I could—I couldn’t.

That’s because Emirates Airline does not serve Jews.  Israeli Jews, American Jews, Australian Jews, any kind of Jews.

They actually ask people what religion they are when they book a flight, which is specifically outlawed in the United States.  If you’re Jewish, you don’t ride.  You don’t get an unopened Diet Coke.  You don’t get on the plane, period.

I don’t hear anyone reacting in horror about this non-micro aggression by an openly anti-Semitic airline.  I don’t see the hashtag #antisemitismisreal flying around Twitter (it exists but Twitter returned a total of 3 tweets in the last 4 months).

There’s something wrong, or at least unbalanced, about someone complaining that one airline employee mistreated her based on her religion, while an entire airline recklessly violates federal law and gets a wink and a nod.  I say that we should boycott Emirates, or better yet, ban them from U.S. airspace until they comply with our law and allow anyone to board their aircraft.

They won’t comply.  I guarantee it.

I feel for Ms. Ahmad.  Honestly I do, because I haven’t felt the kind of “hate” directed at me that she had at her.

But then again, I have never tried to fly Emirates.

(crossposted from sgberman.com)