Fear dominating the home of the brave

The fact that a pizza shop owner was pulled from a flight at Midway Airport in Chicago because he was speaking Arabic, and that made another passenger nervous, isn’t even the most surprising thing about the incident this week. We’ve heard it before and it’s hardly surprising that we haven’t evolved.

It’s the utter lack of logical thought that goes with the utter lack of logical thought.

Maher Khalil and Anas Ayyad wanted to fly back to Philadelphia, but a Southwest Airlines employee — Southwest is the airline that makes a big show of its Americanism by requiring pilots to wear American flag ties — refused to allow them on board after a passenger complained.

Apparently, the logic goes, terrorists would go through the trouble of a security checkpoint, where they’re searched and body scanned, and then do everything they could at the gate to stand out in a crowd by speaking Arabic, knowing full well that after 9/11, an airport gate can be one of the most racist places in the country.

It gets worse, of course.

The airline didn’t do anything after kicking the men off the flight.

“I didn’t know what to do, so I called the cops,” Khalil said.

The police and security personnel checked the two out, determined they weren’t any more of a threat than the English-speaking passengers, and let them on the flight.

But it didn’t end there, either.

Walking down the aisle of the plane while boarding, Khalil’s white box made passengers nervous.

Because apparently, the logic goes, a terrorist intending to blow up a plane with a bomb, would put it in a white box, somehow get it past security, and then carry it on display down the aisle for every passenger to see.

“Everybody started giving us that look,” he said.

It wasn’t a bomb. It was baklava.

So he shared it with passengers.

“We came to America to have a better life,” Khalil tells the Associated Press. “Everybody in America is from different countries. I’m one of them. I’m an American citizen.”

Related: Syrian Family Diverted From Indiana Feels ‘Welcomed’ in Connecticut (NY Times)

  • boB from WA

    Pastry bomb? Sounds like Dunkin’ Donuts to me

    • Ben Chorn

      If he really was a terrorist he would’ve had a red Starbucks cup.

  • Khatti

    Well I’ve had baclava. It’s kind of heavy. Too much of it might not be good for you. I could see where you could use it as a weapon.

    • jon

      Yes I believe it was used to fight terrorism and prejudice on a southwest airlines flight.

  • Anna

    Fear has dominated the home of the brave since the 9/11 attacks and the passage of the Patriot Act.

    We are just as likely to die crossing the street if the latest headlines are to be believed.

    I believe as Thomas Stonewall Jackson stated so well—“God has fixed the time of my death and I do not concern myself with it only to be prepared whenever it should overtake me.”

    Franklin Roosevelt said it best, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

    I can only hope our next President, Democrat or Republican, will not make the fatal mistake of promoting segregation and putting all Muslims in internment camps.

    Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is at the core of our constitution. To alter that freedom is a betrayal of American values and a threat to citizens everywhere.

    • Jack Ungerleider

      Except that “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is a turn of phrase used in our petition to King George III declaring we no longer wish to be his subjects.

    • Jeff

      Of course Jackson was shot by his own side.

  • BJ

    Man, I am really getting fed up with this BS.

    • Khatti

      I would love to tell you that this human impulse will go away soon–but I wouldn’t count on it.

  • Kurt O

    I’d volunteer to be on a security squad dedicated to testing suspicious baked goods.

  • Mike Worcester

    When you consider that an airport is one of those places where you will hear a multitude of languages, they are hubs of *international* travel after all, to freak out over two men speaking Arabic seems kind of….to be honest….reactionary. (Never mind they were American citizens.) I’m amused that they called law enforcement; that made me chuckle.

  • lindblomeagles

    Note to people everywhere. You can accuse innocent Arabic people of suspicious, terroristic, activity for the next 20 years. That still won’t stop the ACTUAL, REAL TERRORISTS, who are similar, in most respects, to the spies we see in James’ Bond films. There entire plan is to get our attention off of them so that they can move innocently, quietly, into position, UNDETECTED, ready to strike. BOSTON taught us that! REMEMBER BOSTON!

  • John

    I’m sorta starting to hate my fellow countrymen.

  • MPNavrozjee

    Those two guys are Americans who make me proud to be American. A class act, sharing the desserts in the box after being challenged about it.

    The rest of those passengers? They make me ashamed. What a bunch of phonies. They are Americans in name only.

  • Jack

    Some of the worst cases of terrorism in the US were committed by homegrown Americans. How soon people forget Timothy McVeigh and all the hate groups. Oh that’s right, they look like “us”.

    Close to home we have locals taking matters into their own hands and assaulting those who don’t speak English (see Applebee’s).

    So if I as a Caucasian and native born American decide to speak in a language other than English while waiting for a plane (which I have done in the past), should I expect to be denied boarding privileges?

    Yes – as one person wrote below, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

  • MrE85

    Times like this allow us to take a good look at ourselves, and the result isn’t very pretty.

  • Fred, Just Fred

    Next thing you know, these scaredy cats will be searching shoes.