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Arab Speaking Men Removed From Plane For Speaking Arabic

When the nation’s airplanes got back in the air about a week after the September 11th attacks, there were many unfortunate stories about people who were, or looked like they were, Arabic being subjected to undue scrutiny. In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings it appears to have happened again:

Reports from Boston say the plane was about to head to Chicago but returned to the gate before takeoff after passengers cited concern about two men on the flight who were speaking Arabic.

Several of the people on that flight were marathoners. The two men were removed from the plane.

Fox in Boston reports the men were not sitting together and both were detained at Logan airport after they were taken off the flight.

Jonathan Turley sums it up well:

Several passengers were marathoners. The two men were removed from the plane and detained . . . for speaking one of the most common languages on Earth.

Putting aside the prejudice in the treatment of Arabic speakers, it is illogical to think that terrorists would speak in Arabic if they were truly going to harm passengers. True terrorists try to blend in with population.

The airline bears responsibility for this conduct. There should be more than simply speaking Arabic to have a plane returned to the gate and passengers detained.

Just for the record, estimates indicate that there are 422 million Arabic speakers in this world

That’s a lot of people to keep off of airplanes.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. matt bernius says:

    So we now have:
    – Running injured from the scene of an explosion while Arab.
    – Flying while Arab.

    What’s next?

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  2. @matt bernius:

    Being Arab

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  3. matt bernius says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    FTW.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  4. matt bernius says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Being Muslim

    While “white privilege” often gets over played, this is an example of something that most middle-class and above white folks (in particular males) don’t get.

    No matter how many times a white male with a gun goes on a mass shooting or how many Ted Kasinskis/Eric Rudolph/Tim McVey blow up innocent people, we will never be suspect.

    And, in fact, we get to decide who are considered suspects (rational or otherwise).

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  5. C. Clavin says:

    If, as Scalia said, the Voters Rights Act is an embedded form of racial preferment…then lettin’ them brown people to speak a fer-eign language is too. Good for the Airline. Someone needs to stand up to these scum. Make ’em speak English like the rest of us god-fearin’ folks. How else are we supposed to know what the heck they’re plannin’. And if they’re Muslims…you know explosives are involved.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  6. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Doug Mataconis: If Pam Gellar, the Representatives King, King, and Gohmert, and World Net Daily get their way…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. C. Clavin says:

    CNN is reporting that officials have found the bomber on tape…and that it is a game changer in the investigation.

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  8. John Peabody says:

    An investigation will be required before assigning blame for the plane’s return to gate. Once a state of uneasiness occurs (perhaps from too-vigilant, too-paranoid runners), and there is a chance that it could explode into panic at 35,000 feet, then the aircraft commander might have no choice but to disarm the situation. Pity that the craft couldn’t have waited, but, I don’t know the details.

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  9. C. Clavin says:

    CNN is now reporting an arrest has been made.

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  10. Senyordave says:

    @John Peabody: he pilot could have returned to the gate and told the passengers who had a problem with Arabic-speaking men on the plane that they should get off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  11. matt bernius says:

    @C. Clavin:

    CNN is now reporting an arrest has been made.

    To be clear, CNN is reporting that someone has been arrested in connection with the bombing.

    As far as I know, the arrest had nothing to do with the incident on the plane.

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  12. grumpy realist says:

    Considering how similar sounding Arabic can be to Hebrew from the viewpoint of someone who hasn’t been exposed to either language, I can expect much merriment on planes flying to and from Israel:

    “He’s suspicious! He’s speaking Arabic!”

    (other passengers look suspiciously at complaining passenger. What sort of schmiel traveling to Israel doesn’t know the phonetics of Hebrew? Call for security….)

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  13. C. Clavin says:

    As is typical…lots of conflicting info on this supposed arrest in the Marathon Bombing.
    Next FBI presser…5:00est.

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  14. matt says:

    @Senyordave: Concur..

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  15. matt bernius says:

    @C. Clavin:
    #mediaFail. CNN, CBS, FOX and AP have a lot of explaining to do.

    The NY Post on the other hand is sticking to it’s “Suspect arrested, tried, found guilty and executed” headline.

    And Alex Jones just keeps repeating “false flag” over and over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  16. Todd says:

    In the immediate aftermath of the bombing there were many inspiring stories of heroes quickly jumping forward to aid the injured. It shone a spotlight on what’s best about Americans.

    … and then we read stories about the severely injured Saudi student being “tackled” instead of helped; and these men detained for no good reason, other than irrational fear.

    I’d like to think that the former is a better example of who we really are … but it sure would be nice if the later was much more rare than it is. I’d love to be able to say that I’m shocked to hear stories like this .. but unfortunately I’m not.

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  17. Franklin says:

    @matt bernius: Did CBS report that at some point? Because I kept checking their website as my go-to place for actual news, and I didn’t see it.

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  18. Rafer Janders says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Considering how similar sounding Arabic can be to Hebrew from the viewpoint of someone who hasn’t been exposed to either language,

    Not to mention that most Americans can’t tell the difference between Arabic and Turkish, Kurdish, Farsi, Berber, or a score of other languages.

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  19. matt bernius says:

    @Franklin:

    Did CBS report that at some point? Because I kept checking their website as my go-to place for actual news, and I didn’t see it.

    CBS was, at least temporarily reporting an arrest. The AP also was reporting it. And Fox News went totally in (I have the screen shots to prove it).

    NBC said it had not heard anything about it. NPR didn’t even repeat the rumor for a while, simply stating that they were trying to confirm some rumors of developments in the case.

    I’m not sure about ABC.

    (fyi, this is part of what I study, that’s why I was paying attention to the entire thing)

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  20. Andre Kenji says:

    After 9/11 there was a bunch of Brazilian journalists writing on the newspapers saying that they traveled to the United States and they were afraid that they would be confused with Arabs.

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  21. Barry says:

    @matt bernius: There was a comment about profiling after 9/11; some people pointed out that any pre-9/11 terrorist profile would concentrate on white, male, veterans who were right-wingers with connections to right-wing ‘christian’ religious groups.

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  22. Barry says:

    @matt bernius: “The NY Post on the other hand is sticking to it’s “Suspect arrested, tried, found guilty and executed” headline.”

    I would say that the NY Post is an intellectual br*thel, but that would be an insult to br*thels.

    Seriously.

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