The Curmudgeon


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Better Safe than Sorry

Fans of ricin plots and the forthcoming Protocols of the Elders of Mecca will no doubt recall the laudable vigilance of passengers on Monarch Airlines Flight ZB613 in August, when eagle-eyed holidaymakers observed two young men of Asian appearance "apparently speaking Arabic and ... repeatedly checking their watches". Several passengers left the aircraft and refused to fly unless the men were removed, whereupon the airline did its part and removed them. As it turned out, of course, the men were not terrorists; but, as we were repeatedly told after the protective detrimentation of Jean Charles de Menezes, if circumstances had been different things might have been very different.

Now a passenger on an American internal flight has displayed a similar degree of initiative, though regrettably not to the extent of getting off the aeroplane. The passenger, on US Airways Flight 300 from Minneapolis to Phoenix, was concerned about three imams who had the temerity to pray before boarding, and who also had three other imams with them, making a total of six imams in all. That was an awful lot of imams. Rather than making a fuss and incurring needless risk of facial identification and subsequent terrorist vengeance, the passenger handed a note to a flight attendant and allowed the captain and airport security workers to take the credit for the subsequent clerical rectification.


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