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Thread: Imams on plane sue other passengers for complaining of suspicious behavior

  1. #1
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    Imams on plane sue other passengers for complaining of suspicious behavior

    Somebody had posted on this awhile ago. This is a chilling strategy by the Imams' attorney to silence the public from reporting suspicious activities. Will this be the end of the LIRR and MTA campaign of "If you see something say something?" Or will it be "If you see something and say something we will sue you!".

    Passengers Sued Over Imams' Removal

    By PATRICK CONDON
    Associated Press Writer

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Six Muslim men removed from a plane last fall after being accused of suspicious behavior are suing not only the airline but the passengers who complained - a move some fear could discourage travelers from speaking up when they see something unusual.

    The civil rights lawsuit, filed earlier this month, has so alarmed some lawyers that they are offering to defend the unnamed "John Doe" passengers free of charge. They say it is vital that the flying public be able to report suspicious behavior without fear of being dragged into court.

    "When you drive up the road towards the airport, there's a big road sign that says, `Report suspicious behavior,'" said Gerry Nolting, a Minneapolis lawyer. "There's no disclaimer that adds, `But beware if you do that, you might get sued.'"

    The six imams were taken off a Phoenix-bound US Airways flight on Nov. 20 while returning home from a conference of Islamic clerics in Minneapolis.

    Other passengers had gotten nervous when the men were seen praying and chanting in Arabic as they waited to board. Some passengers also said that the men spoke of Saddam Hussein and cursed the United States; that they requested seat belt extenders with heavy buckles and stowed them under their seats; that they were moving about and conferring with each other during boarding; and that they sat separately in seats scattered through the cabin.

    The plane was cleared for a security sweep, nothing was found, and the jet took off without the imams.

    The Muslim clerics say they were humiliated, and are seeking unspecified damages from the airline, the Minneapolis airport and, potentially, the John Does.

    Omar Mohammedi, the New York City attorney for the imams, said the intent is not to go after passengers who raise valid concerns about security. But he suggested some passengers may have acted in bad faith out of prejudice.

    "As an attorney, I have seen a lot of abuse by the general public when it comes to members of the community creating stories that do not exist," Mohammedi said.

    He denied the imams were talking about Saddam, and said that their seats were assigned and that they requested extenders because their seat belts didn't fit.

    Some fear such lawsuits could weaken what has become the first line of defense against terrorism since Sept. 11 - an alert public. At airports and train and subway stations around the country, travelers are routinely warned to watch for unattended bags and suspicious activity and to notify authorities.

    Ellen Howe, spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration, which oversees security at all U.S. airports, would not comment specifically on the imams' lawsuit. But she said the TSA counts on passengers to help the agency do its job.

    "`See something, say something' is certainly a common mantra in this day and age," Howe said. "We would always remind passengers to be both vigilant and thoughtful."

    In reaction to the imams' lawsuit, Congress has taken steps to legally protect passengers who report suspicious activity. Earlier this week, the House approved an amendment to a rail transportation security bill that would make passengers immune from such lawsuits, unless they say something they know is false.

    Mohammedi said he has not yet identified any of the complaining passengers. An airport police report listed a passenger and two US Airways employees as complaining about the imams. All three had their names blacked out before the lawsuit was filed by invoking a Minnesota law that allows it, airport spokesman Pat Hogan said.

    Nolting said he has been contacted by several potential John Does.

    Passenger Pat Snelson, who lives in a Twin Cities suburb, said he and his wife were not among those who reported suspicious behavior. But he said his wife noticed the men praying, and he saw them moving around the cabin while others were boarding.

    "These guys were up to no good," Snelson said. "We think the airport people did a real good job in taking care of it."

    Bomb-sniffing dogs examined the men and their baggage. FBI agents and other federal law enforcement officers questioned the men for several hours before releasing them.

    Billie Vincent, a former director of security for the Federal Aviation Administration, said he is troubled by the mere attempt to identify the passengers who raised concerns.

    Airline passengers "are your eyes and your ears," said Vincent, who now owns an aviation security company. "If attorneys can get those names and sue them, you put a chilling effect on the whole system."

  2. #2
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    Minneapolis is for sissies....

  3. #3
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    Proves to me that Christianity is true, not Islam--

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by asuusa
    Proves to me that Christianity is true, not Islam--



    How did you figure that out from that article?



    Man, I hated doing jury duty but I'd love for them to pick me for that trial.
    Last edited by chicadeel; 03-30-2007 at 07:21 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by PlumberKhan
    Minneapolis is for sissies....
    If it were, I'm sure you'd be there.

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    Maybe we could find a pilot that doesn't know how to land!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by chicadeel
    How did you figure that out from that article?
    Apparently Allah only listens to prayers if you're kneeling on you blankey and repeating the same mumbo-jumbo. And if you inconvenience others, tough titty!

    The true God hears any heart-felt prayer at any time, anywhere, and from any position: standing, sitting, kneeling, laying down, etc. Also He hears prayer if your eyes are closed or open, head bowed or looking up to heaven. silent or audible!

    I'll take my God over Allah any day.

    BTW, My God tells me how I can know for sure I'm going to heaven, Allah doesn't.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by asuusa
    Apparently Allah only listens to prayers if you're kneeling on you blankey and repeating the same mumbo-jumbo. And if you inconvenience others, tough titty!

    The true God hears any heart-felt prayer at any time, anywhere, and from any position: standing, sitting, kneeling, laying down, etc. Also He hears prayer if your eyes are closed or open, head bowed or looking up to heaven. silent or audible!

    I'll take my God over Allah any day.

    BTW, My God tells me how I can know for sure I'm going to heaven, Allah doesn't.
    lol ignorance.

    sorry that they are adamant aout their religion and believe in it fully

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by blast2blaze
    lol ignorance.

    sorry that they are adamant aout their religion and believe in it fully
    ...to the point that if you get in their way, they will steamroll over your civil rights.

  10. #10
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    its their right to not be defamed

  11. #11
    and its our duty to report suspicious behavior

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by blast2blaze
    its their right to not be defamed
    remember that when youre on a plane and some people start yelling out something Arabic about "Allah". Just look away and go back to reading your magazine as they are just excersizing their rights. At some point common sense should be applied.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by blast2blaze
    its their right to not be defamed
    Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but when you get on a commercial flight, or on a cruise ship, or what have you, your "rights" are at the discretion of the Captain of said passenger carrier.

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