Given the prominence of this story I thought this latest development would be all over the media, but I didn’t see anything about this on the Fox, CNN or New York Times main web pages. From the Washingon Times:
Probes dismiss imams’ racism claim
By Audrey Hudson
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
December 6, 2006
Three parallel investigations into the removal of six imams from a US Airways flight last month have so far concluded that the airline acted properly, that the imams’ claims they were merely praying and their eviction was racially inspired are without foundation.
An internal investigation by the airline found that air and ground crews “acted correctly” when they requested that the Muslim men be removed from a Minneapolis-to-Phoenix flight on Nov. 20.
“We believe the ground crew and employees acted correctly and did what they are supposed to do,” US Airways spokeswoman Andrea Rader said.
“We talked with crew members and passengers and those on the ground. We’ve done what we typically do in a situation where there is a removal or some kind of customer service at issue,” Miss Rader said. “We found out the facts are substantially the same, and the imams were detained because of the concerns crew members had based on the behavior they observed, and from reports by the customers.”
The Minneapolis airport police department’s report on the incident said the imams’ behavior warranted their removal. The imams were not accused of breaking any laws.
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties is reviewing the actions of department members who were involved in the incident.
Secret Service agents questioned the imams, who are accused of making negative comments about President Bush and the Iraq war. Officials of the Transportation Security Administration were involved in screening the imams and their baggage.
“There is no indication there is any inappropriate activity, at least no indication at this time,” DHS spokesman Russ Knocke said. “To my knowledge, we are only doing a review, and that is a fairly routine practice with incidents like this.”
The Air Carrier Security Committee of the Air Line Pilots Association investigated the incident and said, “The crew’s actions were strictly in compliance with procedures and demonstrated overall good judgment in the care and concern for their passengers, fellow crew members, and the company.”
“The decisions made by all the parties were made as a result of the behavior of the passengers and not as a result of their ethnicity,” the report concluded.
Mr. Shahin told television reporters that he needed the seat-belt extension because he weighs 280 pounds. However, the police report lists his weight as 201 pounds. Weights listed for the other imams ranged from 170 pounds to 250 pounds.
I can’t wait for Imam Shahin’s diet book to come out.