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The Flying Imams: An attempt at legal intimidation
Posted by: mcq on Thursday, March 15, 2007

Of course anyone with even a modicum of intelligence knew this was coming:
The "flying imams' " federal lawsuit, filed this week in Minneapolis, has made headlines around the country. The imams are demanding unspecified damages from US Airways and the Metropolitan Airports Commission, both with deep pockets.
Call it the new American sport, but whenever there is the slightest disagreement of any sort the court, rather than being the last resort, has become the first. The sport, of course is to see how trivial a lawsuit you can succeed in introducing and how much you can soak the defendant for.

Of course, in this case, what the imams are attempting isn't trivial at all:
The imams' lawsuit, however, asserts that US Airways and the MAC acted solely out of religious and ethnic discrimination. It includes 17 separate counts.
The burden of proof is on them, but in today's politically correct environment where cultural relativism is dominant and you can pick your jury, anything can happen.

But make no mistake, the entire intent of this exercise, at least in my opinion, is to make it painful for airlines to make the sorts of decisions that the airline captain made in this case. To refresh your memory:
The imams engaged in a variety of suspicious behaviors while boarding a US Airways flight, according to the airport police report. Some prayed loudly in the gate area, spoke angrily about the United States and Saddam, switched seats and sat in the 9/11 hijackers' configuration, and unnecessarily requested seatbelt extenders that could be used as weapons, according to witness reports and US Airways spokeswoman Andrea Rader.

After extensive consultations, the pilot asked authorities to remove the imams for questioning, which they did, releasing them later that day.
In my opinion the pilot acted correctly as the activities of the imams (not words, but deeds), such as switching to particular seats and requesting seatbelt extenders when none were obviously needed, suggested a security problem.

As Katherine Kersten writes:
Their lawsuit appears to be the latest component in a national campaign to intimidate airlines and government agencies from acting prudently to ensure passenger safety. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is advising the imams, is also calling for congressional hearings and promoting federal legislation to "end racial profiling" in air travel. If the legislation passes, airport personnel who disproportionately question passengers who are Muslim or of Middle Eastern origin could be subject to sanctions.
Using the system to subvert the system. A tactic as old as terrorism. And these imams are an integral part of the attempt, as is CAIR. I keep wondering when those in authority are going to wake up and understand the purpose of all of this.

There's another aspect of this lawsuit. It's not just aimed at neutering the government. It's an attempt to silence the public as well through legal intimidation:
But the most alarming aspect of the imams' suit is buried in paragraph 21 of their complaint. It describes "John Doe" defendants whose identity the imams' attorneys are still investigating. It reads: "Defendants 'John Does' were passengers ... who contacted U.S. Airways to report the alleged 'suspicious' behavior of Plaintiffs' performing their prayer at the airport terminal."

Paragraph 22 adds: "Plaintiffs will seek leave to amend this Complaint to allege true names, capacities, and circumstances supporting [these defendants'] liability ... at such time as Plaintiffs ascertain the same."

In plain English, the imams plan to sue the "John Does," too.

Who are these unnamed culprits? The complaint describes them as "an older couple who was sitting [near the imams] and purposely turn[ed] around to watch" as they prayed. "The gentleman ('John Doe') in the couple ... picked up his cellular phone and made a phone call while watching the Plaintiffs pray," then "moved to a corner" and "kept talking into his cellular phone."
That, apparently, is enough to see this couple rounded up and dragged into court with all the attendant cost and fees associated with defending themselves. The obvious intent is to make an example of these John Does. Their story, of course, will end up being told and, one would think, the cost and "ruination" this will bring will also be a part of that story.

Plainly the strategy of this lawsuit, win or lose, is intimidation. What I would love to see, for once, is a court review the suit, and, if warranted, throw the thing out before it ever gets started. I personally see no merit in their charges, given their activities. But then, we're talking about the US legal system and much weaker and stranger cases have found their way into that system and been decided in ways which have confounded the opinion of the general public before.
 
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Let me see if I’ve got this straight:

A group holds a public prayer meeting, then has a loud conversatiopn involving the U.S. and Saddam, then arranges to sit on airplane so that all have easy access to the aisle, and finally request safety equipment which is apparently not needed. The group then objects to being questioned about their intentions. The group is so offended that it files a lawsuit against (among others) an unknown person who places a phone call and movers to a quiet spot in the gate area of the airport, away from the prayer meeting and/or loud conversation.

Who says religious leaders don’t have a sense of humor?
 
Written By: investdoc
URL: http://
Don’t forget that when they find out who these people are, their names, addresses, family members, employers, etc. become part of the public record. Legal problems are only the start; does anyone want to bet that these passengers wouldn’t end up as victims of "lone wolves" experiencing "Sudden Jihadi Syndrome"?
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
does anyone want to bet that these passengers wouldn’t end up as victims of "lone wolves" experiencing "Sudden Jihadi Syndrome"?
Sure, I’ll bet you my $10 million against your $1,000 that no such thing happens to those passengers in the two years after their names become public, provided you don’t arrange it yourself to win the bet, of course.
 
Written By: Ugh
URL: http://
The authorities should file criminal conspiracy charges against the Imans. Toss the lawsuit, and award court costs to any defendants. I’d also look closely at the immigration status of the Imans as well.

This is not about rights at all. Their actions were designed to provoke the reaction they received.

 
Written By: MarkD
URL: http://
I hope the next time they fly, the in-flight movie is "300."
 
Written By: Bilwick
URL: http://
Unfortunately, even if they lose the suit, they’ve won.

Companies don’t want the burden fighting these suits, even if they expect to win them. Also, if a company faces enough of these suits eventually they’ll get the right combination of judge & jury that they will lose.

So the legal coming out of the legal department will eventually be to cave.

It’s necessary for the legislature to generate some laws with clear protection and a higher standard if necessary under the right circumstances to block these suits.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
why don’t we just ban all muslims from flying?
 
Written By: Ugh
URL: http://
Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 03/15/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.
 
Written By: David M
URL: http://thunderrun.blogspot.com/
"let’s ban all Muslims from flying"

I’d call that a sensible proposal except for two things: I considered the source, and I want you to be able to fly back to Dirka-Dirkastan where you came from. As for the wager, I’d take you up on it, but collecting from your mother would be a pain; she has to provide you with basement quarters, after all.
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
These Imams were faking and goofing on the passengers, and were probably trying to get tossed off the plane just so they could play the victim card and go to court and make a scene. Any judge who allows this is garbage.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
pretend to be terrorists

scare people on a plane
get thrown off claim racism
.
 
Written By: USpace
URL: http://absurdthoughtsaboutgod.blogspot.com/

 
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