The fact that a pizza shop owner was pulled from a flight at Midway Airport in Chicago because he was speaking Arabic, and that made another passenger nervous, isn’t even the most surprising thing about the incident this week. We’ve heard it before and it’s hardly surprising that we haven’t evolved.
It’s the utter lack of logical thought that goes with the utter lack of logical thought.
Maher Khalil and Anas Ayyad wanted to fly back to Philadelphia, but a Southwest Airlines employee — Southwest is the airline that makes a big show of its Americanism by requiring pilots to wear American flag ties — refused to allow them on board after a passenger complained.
Apparently, the logic goes, terrorists would go through the trouble of a security checkpoint, where they’re searched and body scanned, and then do everything they could at the gate to stand out in a crowd by speaking Arabic, knowing full well that after 9/11, an airport gate can be one of the most racist places in the country.
It gets worse, of course.
The airline didn’t do anything after kicking the men off the flight.
“I didn’t know what to do, so I called the cops,” Khalil said.
The police and security personnel checked the two out, determined they weren’t any more of a threat than the English-speaking passengers, and let them on the flight.
But it didn’t end there, either.
Walking down the aisle of the plane while boarding, Khalil’s white box made passengers nervous.
Because apparently, the logic goes, a terrorist intending to blow up a plane with a bomb, would put it in a white box, somehow get it past security, and then carry it on display down the aisle for every passenger to see.
“Everybody started giving us that look,” he said.
It wasn’t a bomb. It was baklava.
So he shared it with passengers.
“We came to America to have a better life,” Khalil tells the Associated Press. “Everybody in America is from different countries. I’m one of them. I’m an American citizen.”
Related: Syrian Family Diverted From Indiana Feels ‘Welcomed’ in Connecticut (NY Times)