When Praying in Public May Get You Arrested!
Initial reports of the removal and arrest of the six imams from a Phoenix bound US Airways flight at Minneapolis - St. Paul last night, were distorted, according to reports from CAIR (Council for American Islamic Relations).
Three of the six imams returning from a Conference in Minneapolis of the North American Imams Federation, prayed while still in the boarding area as is the normal religious practice of Muslims, and not inside the plane as previously reported. The men did not board together, except for two (since one was blind) nor did they sit together in the plane. The imams also deny that they chanted "Allah" as they boarded the plane as was reported. None of which would be grounds for removal from a plane, unless you are "flying while Muslim!"
The imams also deny that they resisted their removal. Although they insisted on their rights as Americans and as passengers to fly, when the Airport security arrived they complied. Despite that they were handcuffed and treated in a humiliating manner.
After taking them through security clearence, US Airways did not provide accomodation for them and did not take them on an alternate flight. Instead they arranged for a Northwest Airlines flight to take them to Phoenix, the following day.
In an MSNBC interview today, asked if he could understand why people might be concerned to see Muslim people praying at an airport, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said, "if someone was unfamiliar with Islamic prayer and the need to pray at certain times during the day, I could see that there could be concern and that's why we need to reach out and educate people."
Clearly, educating the public about Islam is critically important. Our "God Is One" Adult Education Curriculum for churches, is one such effort.
Read the CAIR Statement
Read the Washington Post Story
Watch the MSNBC Interview