Saudi Arabia/USA/World: What Would YOU Do?

air tran dry run

debbieschlussel.com

I have not been able to fully validate this story which I received from an individual whom I trust via email.  However, it is thought provoking and makes one think about volatile situations and what should be the appropriate actions.

After you read the story, I look forward to your take and analysis.  Personally, I think the 11 men should have been removed permanently from the flight due to the disruption they caused rather than have been allowed back on.

What do you think about the reaction of passengers?  The decisions made by TSA and airline personnel?

Now that I’m sure I’ve got your curiousity, following is the story which was passed to me:

Tedd Petruna is a diver at the NBL (Neutral Buoyancy Lab) facility at NASA 
Houston . Tedd happened to be on the AirTran Flight 297, from Atlanta to 
Houston . Here’s his report: 

“One week ago, I went to Ohio on business and to see my father. On 
Tuesday, the 17th, I returned home. If you read the papers the 18th you 
may have seen a blurb about where an Air Tran flight was cancelled from 
Atlanta to Houston due to a man who refused to get off of his cell phone 
before take- off.. The story was only on Fox News. That was NOT what 
really happened. 

I was seated in 1st class coming home. Eleven Muslim men got on the plane 
in full Muslim attire. Two of them sat in 1st class and the rest seated 
themselves throughout the plane, in coach class, all the way to the back. 
As the plane taxied out to the runway, the stewardesses gave the safety 
spiel that we are all so familiar with. 

At that time, one of the men, in 1st class, got on his cell and called one 
of his companions back in coach. He proceeded to talk on the phone in 
Arabic very loudly and very, very aggressively. This activity took the 1st 
stewardess out of action for she repeatedly told the man that cell phones 
were not permitted at that time. He ignored her as if she were not there. 
The man, who answered the phone back in the coach section, did the same 
and this took out the 2nd stewardess. Further back in the plane, at the 
same time, two younger Muslims, one in the back on the aisle, and one 
sitting in front of him by the window, began to show footage of a porno 
video they had taped the night before. They were very loud about it. 

The 3rd stewardess informed the two men that they were not to have any 
electronic devices on at this time. One of the men said “shut up infidel 
dog!” 

The stewardess attempted to take the camcorder and the Muslim began to 
scream in her face in Arabic. At that exact moment, all eleven of the men 
got up and started to walk throughout the cabin. I guess that because of 
the noise, the flight crew must have decided that there was something 
amiss and changed the plane’s directions to head back to the terminal. 

The commotion and noise was reaching a feverish pitch, and at this point I 
had had enough! I got up and started towards the back of 1st class, when I 
heard a voice behind me, from another Texan twice my size, say “I got your 
back.” Then I grabbed the man, who had been on the cell phone, by the arm 
and said “You WILL sit down in your seat or you WILL be thrown from this 
plane!” As I “led” him around me to take his seat, the fellow Texan 
grabbed him by the back of his neck and his waist and headed him back to 
his seat. I then grabbed the 2nd man and said, “You WILL do the same!” 

He protested loudly, but my adrenaline was flowing now and he was going to 
go also. Just as I escorted him forward, the plane stopped, the doors 
opened and three TSA agents and four police officers entered the cabin. 
Myself and my new Texas friend were told to cease and desist for they had 
the situation under control. 

I was quite happy to oblige actually. There was still some sort of 
commotion in the back, but within moments, all eleven Muslim men were 
escorted off the plane. The TSA agents then had their luggage unloaded. We 
talked about the occurrence and were in disbelief that it had happened. 

Then suddenly, the door opened again and in walked all eleven Muslim men! 
Stone faced, eyes front and robotic, (the only way I can describe It) they were reseated.

The stewardess from the back had been in tears and 
when she saw the men, she was having NONE of it! Since I was up front, I 
heard and saw the whole ordeal. She told the TSA agents that there was NO 
WAY she was staying on the plane with the Muslim men. The agent told her 
that they had searched the men and were going through their luggage with a 
fine tooth comb. However, nothing had been found and that the men were 
allowed to proceed on to Houston . 

The captain and co-captain came out of the cockpit and told the agent, “We 
and our crew will not fly this plane!” After a word or two, the entire 
crew, luggage in tow, left the plane. Five minutes later, the cabin door 
opened again and a whole new crew walked on. Again, this was where I had 
had enough! I got up and asked the TSA agent, “What the hell is going on? 

I was told to take my seat. The airlines and TSA were sorry for the delay 
and we would be home shortly. I said “I’m getting off this plane”. The 
stewardess sternly told me that she could not allow me to get off. Now I’m 
really mad! I said “I am a grown man who bought this ticket, who’s time is 
mine with a family at home and I am going through that door, or I’m going 
through that door with you under my arm, but I AM going through that 
door!” 

And then I heard a voice behind me say “So am I!” Then everyone behind us 
started to get up and say the same thing. Within two minutes, I was 
walking off that plane where I was met by more TSA agents who asked me to 
write a statement about the incident. I had five hours to kill at this 
point waiting for the next flight to Houston , so why the hell not give 
them my statement. Due to the amount of people who got off that flight, it 
was canceled. I was supposed to be in Houston at 6 PM, but I finally got 
there at 12:30 AM. If you don’t believe this, look up the date and then 
Flight 297 from Atlanta to Houston . 

If this wasn’t a terrorism dry run, I don’t know what one is. The 
terrorists wanted to see how TSA would handle it, how the crew would 
handle it, and how the passengers would handle it. I’m telling this to you 
because I want you to know. The threat IS real. I saw it with my own 
eyes.” 

After reading the account of Petruna, I did check with snopes.com using his name as search item.  Snopes confirms that an incident took place but has been over-exaggerated as depicted by Petruna.  I do believe that this incident does continue to raise questions though.  It never did explain the presence of the group of men and having them scattered across the airline in differing classes. What do you think?

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50 Responses

  1. I was once on a flight which had a whole bunch of salafi types on board, short thobes, big beards, didn’t use the entertainment system and only read Arabic books during the flight. They were normal passengers like everybody else.
    Of course they were scattered all over the plane. That’s how it works: The plane is loaded with passengers and the only thing they care about is proper weight distribution for take-off.
    Maybe you can sit together if you are with your spouse and children if you book early enough, but if you are with 12 people (if they were a group) there is no way you are going to be grouped together on a flight.
    I can’t imagine being in a frenzy just because there are some Muslim people on the plane. It looks as if there were some bad behaved people on board of this plane, (or quite a lot) but that can happen on any plane with any passenger.

  2. Good for the passengers who showed these Muslims that they didn’t own the plane. Too bad the local authorities failed the passengers by proving too weak to protect their dignity against such behaviour. It is outrageous that they let them in again.

    Having read this, I am actually so happy that I am living in an European country which seems to be of no interest whatsoever to the worldwide Muslim-hood. Yes, Carol, everything you published in this post is so true to type. These people feel as if they own any place they are in. Good manners are sadly not characteristic of many Muslims. For the most part, they are a terribly unrefined lot. Of course, I am talking about the men – the women were nowhere to be seen, except those from the other countries. And then many Arab women can also be too direct in their curiosity about foreign women.

    I remember reading an issue of the Marhaba magazine shortly after my arrival in Doha and going through a list of local rules that the locals wanted to see followed. Shortly afterwards, I saw a couple of Muslims in full Muslim attire doing the opposite of what the magazine said. I asked a Muslim colleague of mine how he would explain this and he dismissed what I said with the words: “They are crazy.” Over the next two years, I realized that this was an automatic answer whenever a Muslim transgression had to be explained in a way that would protect the region’s reputation. As a result, I saw too many people described as “crazy” by their own brothers in faith. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

    Other Europeans poked fun at the locals’ lack of refinement when speaking in their own language, so that the locals would not understand, but I never found it funny. I never find somebody’s rudeness amusing even when it is directed at another person. Rudeness is sad – it is such a failure of goodness in my eyes.

    Of course, I am now waiting for the Muslim brigade to crawl out of the woodwork and say that this story is an exception, that you can’t make generalizations based on the behaviour of a dozen of men, that this happens everywhere.

    Sorry, people – I returned to my country from the Arabian Gulf 12 years ago and I have never seen even one rude person, so your theory fails. It DOES NOT happen everywhere. However, it is very typical of the Arabian Gulf.

  3. Thank you Lynne, for posting that. As one Middle Eastern comic once said, in order to other passengers at ease, if you are Arab and speaking Arabic, is while walking down the isle, punctuate your sentences with English words like: “Strawberry!” Tutti Fruitti”!

  4. I read the link. I believe it, this story is bogus. And even if it was real it sounds as if it was the twisted view of some normal obnoxious passengers, retold by somebody with serious paranoia.

  5. Strawberry and tutti frutti! LOL!

  6. I wonder if anyone flies withing the Kingdom?

    There are bearded fellas scattered on the plane.

    If you’re unfortunate enough, there might even be some women wearing head scarves.

    Put them all in the back of the plane I say.

    Like they used to do to the black people back in the late 50s.

    Crazy Muslims!

    What’s the world coming to letting them get on planes?

  7. Looks like the guy wrote a fabrication. He was not even on the plane. He actually arrived to Atlanta from Akron after the flight in question left. It sounds like the writer was coincidentally at the same airport on the same day. He heard about it either through the news or someone at the airport and proceeded to write a tall tale.

    Yes there was an incident on the plane with soeone who ooked Middle Eastern, but it looks like it was a small incident which got resolved with a talk through translator and teh passanger was allowed on the plane. Worse incidents happen like the one with teh drunk Gerard Depardieu urinating on the floor of an airplane and many others. This particular incident seemed to be fairly mild in comparison except for the lies of the author. You can read about it in factchecks.org

    http://www.factcheck.org/2009/12/what-happened-on-flight-297/

    What is disturbing is the prejudice tone of the story. The emphasis on using the word Muslim (note factcheck and the airlines did not include any of this in their report) along with the blue blooded American telling these terrorist types to Sit Down, etc. People will circulate this around without checking to continue feeding stereo types and prejudices.

  8. Reality Check, I spent 5 years in Qatar, living in Doha. Never found any of what you said going on. Indeed, there was largely that “crazy” behavior being the norm with young people.
    I never found a Qatari rude or even standoffish either.
    That said, I left two years ago and quite a few years passed between the time you spent in Qatar and when I deployed there.
    Though, there was a book written by a gentleman who worked in Qatar some decades ago that was quite humorous:
    If the Sun Doesn’t Kill You, the Washing Machine Will: Or My Real Life in the Middle East…
    My understanding is that the book was banned for quite a few years in Qatar, but no longer is.

    As for the story, I’ll go with Snopes investigation and the airline. I’ve seen too many stories turn into “there be dragons” after a few iterations. Many westerners can be taken aback by normal Arabic speech, as some do speak quite loudly and sound aggressive. That doesn’t make the individual aggressive or obnoxious, only not realizing how they appear to those not from their culture.

    Of course, there was this Qatari diplomat, who lit a cigarette up in the airplane lavatory, setting off the smoke detector. Qatar recalled him, as he was an embarrassment to their diplomatic service.

  9. Muslim Attire..what the hell is a Muslim attire? You mean traditional Arab thobe with shemagh? What would I do? Nothing since this low quality writing is bogus or at least overly exaggerated. Reading the Twilight Saga would have been more believable. Not that Arabs aren’t rowdy and demanding on flights, that is a common scene and I say that with affection. But this article leaves a bad taste, need to gargle my mouth!!

  10. My comment got swallowed up again.

    Just a heads up, Arabs almost always speak ‘aggressively’ when in reality they were probably just talking about football. The guys anyway.

    Moq, great observation. And I mean that!

  11. I read Lynn’s link as well as Moq’s and 8 must say I am surprised that you didn’t bother to do more research to check on the authenticity of this story Ab before deciding to publish it but with the trend your blog is steering to, I wouldn’t say I am surprised. Thankfully only Reality Check (ironically she needs a good dose of RC herself) is silly enough to swallow such a story.

  12. If the rebuttal story to this is correct it was 2009??? While I think we should all be observant, I think there are those out there who want to stir up bad feelings. I get told quite often to lower my voice as I have a commanding voice and been know to sound aggressive, and I speak English so if I don’t realize I sound rude, others may not either. However, I do quiet down when told.

  13. MrsB, can you enlighten us on what you’ve observed?
    I’d also appreciate your input on what the links suggest.
    I’d check myself, but time is at a premium lately, due to familial issues with my aged father.

    Kat, I’ve heard men talk in Arabic and they were discussing even less than football, but “sounded aggressive” as I figured out what they were talking about. At times, they discussed local stores having various menswear items, others, car talk, others other mundane items.
    I have 45db hearing loss, so it takes a bit for speech to filter in anyway, add in a non-native tongue, it takes longer.
    Me? I am quiet spoken, normally. When I thunder, it’s so rare that all who know me cease doing what they’re doing to see what the thunder is about.

  14. Given the flights I have made on Saudi Air in the last year I can believe the rude behaviour of these men and their inability to follow the flight crew instructions. I have seen Saudi men such as these ignore flight crew instructions to put phones/digital equipment away – had to endure videos of the most recent Riyadh beheadings being played by them near me (without headphones) – prayers shouted/chanted at the top of their voices when coming in to Jeddah (late at night disturbing children that were sleeping) – watched children run up & down the aisles unchecked – seen them move out of their seats and open overhead luggage compartments before the plane has even left the runway after landing – had many try to push past me whilst I was collecting luggage from the overhead cabin upon stopping – periodically had the very strong smell of cigarette smoke in the cabin approximately every 40min during flights and best of all – being on the ground in Riyadh waiting for a bus to transport us to the terminal, standing within metres of the plane with the smell of av-gas in the air and watch an idiot Saudi light a cigarette!

    Is it terrorist behaviour – no I don’t think so – but it does say a lot about the rudeness, ignorance and self-centredness of many (but not all) Arab men – it is accepted in the ME as being normal – but I can easily see how this type of behaviour could be interpreted differently in other countries. My own country (according to the Saudi newspapers) has in recent years topped the list for the number of Saudi students appearing in court/being found guilty of charges – I’m guessing it was mostly for traffic incidents as they are no more polite on the roads than they are in the air!

    As for the truth of this story *shrugs shoulders* – but as AB pointed out – even if it is a hoax, it still raises an important question – what would you do in the same situation?

  15. Well Wzrd1, it has been quite a while since I have had the pleasure of reading your comments. My observation on Moq’s comment was – “What is disturbing is the prejudice tone of the story. The emphasis on using the word Muslim (note factcheck and the airlines did not include any of this in their report) along with the blue blooded American telling these terrorist types to Sit Down, etc. People will circulate this around without checking to continue feeding stereo types and prejudices.”

    I think Moq has said it quite eloquently…

  16. i read the the links provided, as well as many other available links pertaining to this case and evidently this Mr Pertuna has been making a very tall story in order to advertise his prejudice on Muslims (and I suspect any middle eastern looking person). Firstly according to flight data, he was already on another flight after Flight 297 was pushed back from the gates. Therein lies the problem…he either was a magician from Lord of the Rings or he lied about being on two flights at the same time. Next the Airtrans report showed that there was a passenger who was being difficult but after having a translator present, things were settled and the flight resume. Now let me ask you this. Would you spread rumors that have not been verified, a prejudic-liced rumor at that? What’s the point of that anyway? To build bridges between culture of East and West or to have someone like Reality Check claim she’s glad she’s in Europe and not having to deal with these Muslims who think they own the plane?

  17. To answer the question in the post, what I would do is nothing, just relax and read my book.

    Last week there was a story of a passenger who was so horrible during the flight that they taped him to his chair with ducktape, there’s even a video of it. (American dude btw) I think that’s going very far btw. But when you are in the air and somebody flips, what are you going to do?
    Much better if the passengers start making a fuss before the flight takes off you so can remove them.

    I have seen some very rude children on planes, using the bathroom as a playhouse, making a huge mess of it, rudely trying to push you aside, the kid was almost stomping me!

  18. AB: I do believe that this incident does continue to raise questions though …. What do you think?

    I think I will do whatever it takes to protect my homeland from muslim terrorists. Ala Todd “Let’s Roll” Beamer; United Flight 93 on 9/11/.

    http://www.history.com/videos/the-todd-beamer-story-lets-roll#adam-shanker-times-square

    unitedheroes.com/Todd-Beamer.html


  19. I think I will do whatever it takes to protect my homeland from muslim terrorists. Ala Todd “Let’s Roll” Beamer; United Flight 93 on 9/11/.”

    How about if the terrorist wasn’t Muslim? would you do whatever it takes then? coz stressing on the Muslim part seems to suggest your intention is only to ‘do what it takes’ against Muslim. Or does the term terrorist being solely to Muslims? Let’s Roll!

  20. Certainly not, there also American right-wing terrorists, are we to be worried when there are Americans spread out over the airplane?

    Anyway, wouldn’t want to inconspicuous as a terrorist? Blend in, wear a suit, not attract attention…. until you blow up the plane of course.

  21. WZRD1, of course you wouldn’t see any of the things I said. You are probably a westerner and your ability to see probably depended on the salary you got there. During my two years in Qatar, I came to realize that the well-paid westerners didn’t see even half the things I saw all the time. It’s because they were so contented with their excellent tax-free salaries and big comfortable villas that a few transgressions on the part of the locals did not register at all.

    It all starts with the question “Where are you from?” It is the first question you ever get asked there by total strangers who don’t even care that it is inappropriate to question women they don’t know at all. As soon as they learn you are from the Eastern part of Europe (not the Western one), their attitude instantly changes into something that doesn’t have anything to do with respect.

    Then you start being questioned about things that no European man in his right mind would have ever dared to ask a woman he doesn’t know: “Are you here alone or with your family?”, “Are you married?”, “Do you have a boyfriend?”, “You don’t have a boyfriend? Why?”, “Do you want me to be your boyfriend?” etc., etc. As the conversation progresses, it becomes even more desperate and dirty as they feel entitled to ask you anything, no matter how ugly and inappropriate it is. Extremely bad manners all the way, but they either don’t realize it or they don’t care.

    I used to be a flight attendant with Qatar Airways for a while and every time I had to walk the distance between the neighbourhood supermarket and the flight attendants’ compound, I had to go through the trial of being followed by the Qataris’ SUVs. There was a bunch of Qataris dressed in full Muslim attire, who obviously knew that some flight attendants were living nearby, so they waited near the supermarket for “the white girls”. As soon as we went out of the store, they started driving along us, shouting aggressively in English and Arabic.

    The shouts included mobile numbers and the most shameless propositioning I’ve ever seen in my life. They obviously thought that just because we were foreign and white, we were prostitutes that could be picked up anytime, anyplace. It was insulting, degrading and humiliating to be treated like that without any boundaries at all. After all, we were human beings entitled to respect. In their eyes, however, respect was for their women only because not showing respect to a Muslim woman involved prison or worse. There were no consequences in harassing a foreign woman, so they didn’t care.

    Again, I want to underline that this had never happened to me in Europe before I went to Qatar and has never happened to me since my return. Our men have manners and integrity that are nowhere to be found in Qatar or the rest of the Arabian Gulf.

    My mother says she’ll never forget what I told her after my first walk through my native city after my return: “God, it’s so beautiful to walk from one side of the city to the other without anybody paying attention to me!” Those words of mine were the product of two years of unwelcome attention from uncontrollable Muslim lechers, which I had never experienced in my homeland for 30 years. I was so happy to be back to the complete normality of my birthplace and I thought I would never agree to go to Qatar again even for a million dollars a year.

    Of course, you may not have heard any bad stories because your stay in Qatar probably paid off, which can’t be said about 90 % of the foreigners working there – especially those from India, Sri Lanka and the less affluent parts of Europe. They took all the brunt of the locals’ disrespect, patronizing attitude and lecherous behaviour. The westerners generally lived in a cocoon and turned a blind eye to anything that would have disturbed their belief that this was the best place they’d ever been to.

    I read “Daily Mail” for fun every day and I always notice that whenever a critical article about Dubai or another Gulf country appears online, the western expatriates are up in arms and post comments saying what a great place the Gulf is and how safe and rewarding it is. It is the kind of selfishness that isn’t interested in the reality around as long as its own life is okay. Arab money obviously talks a lot – whether or not it has something useful to say is an altogether another matter.

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  22. Good observation Aafke. If I was a terrorist, the key is to blend in…not wear a hijab or anything obvious 😀

  23. wzrd1- That is exactly my point, what one person perceives as aggressive, is not wht another thinks. Those who thought Arabic spoken aggressively need to listen to Cubans playing dominos or watching soccer. It sounds very violent but is usually not much more exciting than the weather. Unfortunately, things like this going around on the internet make it seem that any Muslim speaking their native tongue are plotting to kill others. That is not the case, they are speaking naturally. People, especially Americans, need to get over it, to a point, and understand other cultures are allowed to think and speak differently than they do.

    By the way, I have deafness issue also, I don’t realize everyone else can hear me as I can’t hear me. I am also part Italian, and we tend to speak loudly and very animated!! That does not mean we are trying to kill those around us!

  24. Kat, there is a standing joke in this Sicilian-American household. If one were to tie our hands to our sides, our heads would explode. 🙂

  25. Yeah, I don’t understand the reason for posting this 4 yr old stale fairytale either. HA, not all muslims are terrorists; only a fringe element of islamist jihadists who bring a bad name to the rest of us. Maybe that’s what you meant?

  26. I think I’d just look out the window, read a book or chat with my family till the whole thing blew over 🙂

    I’ actually more offended by lack of manners and rudeness from some of the Middle East ladies than these type of incidences.

    Somehow the impression of Muslim women in India I have is a well bhaved with plenty of manners type, that changed the minute I landed in Saudi shores!!! Ugh there are some (not all) ru unpleasant, think they are deserving queens without consideration for anyone or any rules. It’s not because they are Muslim. They’d be the same ignorant folks whichever religion they belonged too. They we never taught manners is what I think. Wo knows.

    Men on the other hand are bit more lecherous in Saudi and desperate than any other place I visited plus the same sense of ‘ I’m the most imp person here so I’ll do what I please attitude’. They are not terrorists or Muslim or anything just badly raised kids now turning into badly behaving adults .

  27. Yes!!! that is so true. Or if my hands were tied, I couldn’t talk at all.

  28. On a trip from Bahrain to London we were very much disturbed by a group of what appeared to be very religious Afghan men who insisted on praying in the aisles. The flight attendants said they are often disturbed this way and have tried to direct the men other areas but they refuse. Nobody can move or get by them. Food service is disrupted never mind bathroom trips. IMHO this should not be allowed to happen. It is not necessary. Prayers can be delayed until they can be performed safely. This is the type of thing that creates bad feelings regarding Islam. It would be the same for any kind of religious disturbance. It’s not just something to ignore.

  29. Many of the airlines I have flown from predominant Muslim countries usually have designated prayer areas on the aircraft.

    In response to those who were asking why I chose to post this particular subject…even though it is dated it brings up good topics of discussion and interchange.

    On Sun, Jan 13, 2013 at 7:48 PM, American Bedu

  30. AB:

    Stirring the pot. 😀 I like it. 😈

  31. So Carol, what happens when the men refuse to use it? Gulf Air is certainly ‘Muslim friendly’. 🙂

  32. I don’t think it would be so much as a man refusing to use a designated prayer area but more of a problem if an airline does not have one. Then he’ll probably try to prayer wherever he feels is suitable.

    On Sun, Jan 13, 2013 at 9:36 PM, American Bedu

  33. And the aisle of a plane with 12 men praying is not suitable. More than that it’s not necessary. Prayers can be ‘made up’ at another time if it is inappropriate or inconsiderate of others to pray at the designated time.

  34. It’s easy to say that prayers can be made up but I’d just like to point out that the culture (and religion) has made it very easy and encourages praying on time or ad hoc. This is not unique to Saudi Arabia but common on a lot of carriers from predominant Muslim states. PIA (Pakistan) is another carrier where passengers frequently pray and there are areas for prayer.

  35. The flight I spoke of in my first comment, where there was a whole bunch of very salafi Muslim men in beards and thobes I think some were praying in their chairs, they were sitting on the other side of the aisle they did not bother anybody at anytime.

    So it’s not the norm or to be expected that Muslim men would be rude or bother other passengers. I suppose it’s just bad luck, as when I had the bad luck once of a drunken woman sitting next to me. Very uncomfortable.

    I have been on a couple flights which seemed to be cursed by a lot of vary badly behaved rude brats.

  36. Carol – why the argument? Do you think it’s okay for these guys to block the public aisle so one can’t go to the bathroom or the flight attendant can’t deliver goods and services? They were offered the galley and they refused. The flight attendant I spoke with said they’d just given up trying to get these men to move. My husband considered them very rude and men who felt they had a right to impose themselves on everyone else to show how ‘religious’ they were. Pity the families at home who undoubtedly have to put up with ignorant men.

  37. I’m not arguing Wendy. I’m just mentioning that some airlines have made accommodations is all.

    @Aafke – I could probably write a book about seat companions I’ve had over the decades of international travel! My most disruptive flight was on Sri Lankan airways from Karachi to Colombo.

    On Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 1:50 PM, American Bedu

  38. As I said, there was an area available. Do you think it was wrong of these men to take up the aisle?

  39. If a designated area is available and men have chosen another location which causes disruption, then, no, I don’t think that is right or appropriate.

    On Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 6:49 PM, American Bedu

  40. Then am I correct that in your opinion it is perfectly fine to disrupt a plane load of people so a few men can pray?

  41. I don’t get why those men insisted on praying in the middle if the aisle Wendy. When travelling in such cases, you can either pray in your seat if there are no designated area or delay the prayer as the musafir prayer example combine the dohor to the asr time etc. Perhaps another case of ignorance or misunderstanding? However I’ve yet to see such incident but I have come across drunkards and noisy kids but I could forgive the kids. Drunkards on the other hand are a big nuisance.

  42. I agree on all points, Mrs. B!

  43. I always get the emergency seat so I can chit chat with the flight attendants and stretch my legs. Can hardly notice anything else along the way lol

  44. This is the most ridiculous story…I know many Saudis in the USA and they would never travel in their traditional dress (thobe & shemag), assuming that is what was meant by “full Muslim attire.” Clearly this American idiot is so closed minded about other cultures (and he works for NASA!)…..I think the USA would do go to have it’s own Mutawa and issue 50 lashes to him for perjury!

    Also, he gets a stoning for calling flight attendants “stewardesses”….

    And he gets his head chopped off unless he can explain how he knows the porno was”filmed last night” if the were only speaking Arabic…clearly a language he doesn’t understand.

  45. Wadha, we in the US do not lash people, nor do we have a Mutawa. We use a judicial system to punish those who libel another. One cannot commit perjury without taking an oath swearing to the effect that one is speaking the truth.

    Stoning for using an older term for an occupation?

    Decapitation unless he prove his linguistic skills or lack thereof?

    When one says such things to vent, one should say one is venting, lest one be considered serious and further stereotyping in the US of Arabs in general and Muslims overall.
    AB, I and many others have been fighting said stereotyping for years, but words to the effect that you just made undermine many years of education.

  46. Lighten-up Wzrd1…a ridiculous story deserves ridiculous commentary…sorta like an eye for an eye…

  47. I know. However, some would consider your commentary as valid.
    I’ve read your other commentaries and know better. Hence, my response that spurred yours. Lest some extremist here seize upon it and use it to further their goals here and/or abroad.

  48. This story is, to any fluent speaker of Arabic, obviously a work of fiction. Muslim Arabs would not call anyone an “infidel dog,” as that is not a normal expression of their speech or thought-pattern, just as no American would call someone an eggplant. Such expressions are the creation of hate-writers trying to depict Muslims as terrorists. I live in a Muslim, Arabic-speaking country and have never, ever heard anyone refer to non-Muslims as “infidel dogs,” although the word “kaffar,” meaning a non-believer, is not unusual, but doesn’t carry the vitriol of the word “infidel,” it is merely a distinction. I have seen Arabs and others who ignore airplane phone shut-off announcements, but I simply cannot believe this story. Further, so what if there were Muslims wearing Arab dress? It would be highly unusual for an Arab Muslim male to wear Arab dress in the U.S., unless they were attending a diplomatic or cultural function, in which case they would carry such clothes with them and change before the event. But even if they wore such, it is of no significance. It is merely their national dress. If 11 Japanese women showed up wearing kimonos, would it mean anything? Of course not. And if you ever see a Muslim female wearing what some people suppose is “Arab” dress, they are simply following the dress code of their religion, as some Catholic nuns still do. I am a woman who wears the female Islamic dress, only for the reason of modesty and fulfilling the obligations of my religion. It is not an expression of a hostile attitude or a political position in any way. My Christian orthodox friends from East Africa dress in a very similar way, because they also value modesty. Stop the hatred and paranoia, and look behind what motivates stories and suspicions. Much of what is published as “fact” simply is not true, or represents .00001% of what is actually out there. Should we claim that members of the KKK represent the typical American, then?

  49. I don’t understand the fuss. Rude guys exist everywhere. Last week in the train here in Europe we had the same kind of thing, and well, no one cared much. I’m surprised at reading some of the negative comments towards “gulf guys”, because I have had much more trouble with european guys in Europe than with arab ones when I lived in the middle east …
    As for the end of the quote, citing these men as terrorists, it’s pretty funny, I didn’t know a guy watching porn and talking loudly in a phone was a potential terrorist… It always amaze me how judgments can be made and changed according to pieces of clothing. And beards.

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