Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Planes, Trains, and Imams

Stop me if you've heard this one. Six Muslim imams are in an airport. They pray loudly before boarding an aircraft. Reports are that they were very critical of the Iraq campaign. Once onboard, some ask for seatbelt extenders that they don't appear to need. Passengers alert the flight attendant to their suspicions, and the imams are removed from the flight.

One pundit asked whether we would have done the same thing if it were six Catholic priests. Well, there recently was another story of alleged child abuse by a priest. I think the correct analogy is not whether you would be suspicious of a Catholic priest doing all of the above actions before an airline flight. It is whether you would allow your elementary school-age child to go on an overnight camping trip with a priest. It is not fair to the millions who are not abusers, but safety comes first. And the scandals have not been evenly distributed among all religious clergy. The same logic applies to the imams. It is not fair to the innocent that their religion has a certain connection to specific acts of terrorism using airplanes, but safety comes first.

Bleg: How big does your waist have to be to require a seatbelt extension?

Another Bleg: How have the leftist comedy shows (Daily Show, Colbert, etc.) treated this controversy? Will seatbelt extensions become a symbol of caucasian paranoia, the way that screwdrivers in the Bernhard Goetz case did? Or will they become a chilling reference to terrorism like box cutters?

P.S. Still looking for contestants to try and indentify journalistic problems with Sunday's 60 Minutes interview with Gen. Abizaid. I will give you a hint. One problem involves the preface, "first to admit...."

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