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The Flying Imams Stoke Fear, So Naturally the Problem Is ... Lack of Cultural Sensitivity at DHS
, from PR Newswire, will make your day:
CAIR Welcomes TSA Hajj Sensitivity Training
WASHINGTON, Dec. 27 ... The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today welcomed an announcement by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that it has provided special training about Islamic traditions related to the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, to some 45,000 airport security officers. The TSA cultural sensitivity training includes details about the timing of Hajj travel, about items pilgrims may be carrying and about Islamic
prayers that may be observed by security personnel....
Earlier this month, CAIR advised those going on Hajj to be aware of their civil and legal rights as airline passengers. CAIR's "Your Rights and Responsibilities as an American Muslim" pocket guide states: "As an airline passenger, you are entitled to courteous, respectful and non-stigmatizing treatment by airline and security personnel. You have the right to complain about treatment that you believe is discriminatory."
"We welcome the fact that airport security officers nationwide will now be better informed about Islamic traditions relating to Hajj," said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "This proactive effort on the part of the Transportation Security Administration demonstrates that there is no contradiction between the need to maintain airline safety and security and the duty to protect the religious and civil rights of airline passengers."
Hooper said representatives of CAIR chapters nationwide have met with TSA, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials on issues related to cultural sensitivity and national security.
The State Department's site corroborates the report. (See here.) Worse, State confirms something even CAIR's commentary did not suggest but which should have been pluperfectly obvious to the rest of us: "The training comes just one month after Department of Homeland Security personnel came under criticism for removing six imams from a domestic flight for what one passenger considered suspicious behavior."
Great. A bunch of imams transparently set out to provoke an incident and incite understandable fears of passengers and crew stuck in the already anxiety-ridden nightmare that is post-9/11 American air travel, and the administration's responsive message is ... there must be something lacking in the sensitivity of our security officials.
(For contrasting views, see, e.g., the Opinion Journal account of the flying imams' behavior by Debra Burlingame (whose brother was the pilot killed in the suicide hijacking of Flight 77, which jihadists crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11), or this recent observation by Newt Gingrich: "Those six people [i.e., the imams] should have been arrested and prosecuted for pretending to be terrorists. And the crew of the U.S. airplane should have been invited to the White House and congratulated for being correct in the protection of citizens." (Hat tip to Power Line).
The sensitivity training order is, of course, is of a piece with the Danish cartoons fiasco in which, with the opportunity to take a stand in favor of the centrality of free expression in the democratic societies it purports to be cultivating, the State Department instead chose to putter about "press responsibility" and blast the cartoons (some of which depicted Mohammed, who was a warrior, as a warrior) as "indeed offensive to the beliefs of Muslims."
We have met the enemy, and he is us.