One week ago, for a split second, almost everyone in the world was united in relief and happiness. Now, a Delta pilot has refused to fly his plane with two Muslim clerics aboard.
Early Saturday, the plane was nearing the runway at Memphis International when the pilot objected to the imams' presence, claiming that the imams' traditional garb made the other passengers nervous. The pilot taxied back to the terminal and the imams were escorted into the airport, where they were rescreened by the TSA. They were clean. Still, the pilot refused to fly with them, and the imams were placed on another flight.
Where were the imams headed? To discuss Islamophobia at a conference with other religious leaders.
Reading about the imams' plight made me think of the comments I've found appended to some of the week's local news stories. Here are a few:
Muslims will shed the 'stigma' of Bin Laden and terrorism in general as much as the Nazi's shed the stigma of Adolf Hitler.
- Judge R. Bean, in response to a Sun Sentinel story titled "Local Muslims hope to shed bin Laden stigma"
Burial at sea? much too honorable; he should have been cremated with some pigs and the ashes spread over a pig farm. what a bunch of BS.....but then , "it is Obummer" born and raised a Muslim.
- Patriot, in response to a Palm Beach Post story titled "Locals react to Bin Laden's death at hands of U.S. forces"
I'm sure he's relieved after his 'tireless' campaigning against the 'evil' Osama bin Laden. Blah, blah, blah. Useless, thankless muslim afraid to speak out against his own kind, no different from the rest of them. The PBP should not have waisted any space on its website for this useless linen model.
- Give me a break, in response to a Post story titled "Boca Raton Muslim Imam talks about bin Laden's death"
Similar comments have been appearing on the Juice and just about everywhere else in the American media for a long time. These are popular sentiments, and there's nothing much America's Muslims can do about them short of converting to Christianity. (If Muslims condemn terrorism, as they do in the above stories, they're accused of lying.) There's nothing much anybody can do.
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Except maybe a leader. That's what leaders are for, right? They're supposed to exemplify the best parts of the polity and lead us by example away from the ugliest aspects of our collective conscience. They're supposed to remain cool when the rest of us get hot.
American leaders, if there are any, will repudiate all this bigoted foolishness whenever the subject of Islam comes up. Self-aggrandizing bastards posing as leaders, on the other hand, will be wont to use this bigoted foolishness as the foundation upon which to construct a highly motivated voting bloc. A lot depends on which kind of people we decide to trust in the next few years -- not least of all how comfortable America will feel looking herself in the mirror 20 years hence.