9/06/2006

Air Canada: Doesn't Have a Prayer

My husband sent me this article from YNet News this afternoon.
Passengers on an Air Canada Jazz flight from Montreal to New York claim that a fellow passenger, an ultra-Orthodox man, was removed from the plane after he began praying, Canadian news site CBC reported...
Following up with the CBC, I found this article on the subject.
No freedom of religion for you, not if you live in Canada. That goes double if you're Jewish.
"He was clearly a Hasidic Jew," said Yves Faguy, a passenger seated nearby. "He had some sort of cover over his head. He was reading from a book.
"He wasn't exactly praying out loud but he was lurching back and forth," Faguy added.
The action didn't seem to bother anyone, Faguy said, but a flight attendant approached the man and told him his praying was making other passengers nervous.
"The attendant actually recognized out loud that he wasn't a Muslim and that she was sorry for the situation but they had to ask him to leave," Faguy said.

Wow.
They kicked him off the plane for praying, claiming that it was making other passengers nervous. I'd love to know which passengers he was making nervous, especially since the article also says that he wasn't bothering anyone. Both can't be true folks! What kills me most is the description: "some sort of cover... a book... lurching..." You moron! That's a prayer shawl, likely a Torah and the lurching is how Orthodox Jewish people pray. Comparing him to a muslim??? Could you be any more ignorant? One wonders how that conversation even went.
"Sir, we know you aren't a Muslim, but would you mind not praying? The captain's an atheist and he's afraid God will hear you."
Yay Canada.
True north strong and...
free?
I love the B'Nai Brith's offer of sensitivity training. I say a good old fashioned size twelve to the rear ought to do it.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Heard over the onboard intercom shortly before takeoff:

"Welcome aboard Air Canada Jazz flight 666 from Montreal to New York City. Today we will be cruising at 10,000 feet and we should be arriving
in NYC in approximately 2 hours. The captain has turned on the "no praying" and "seatbelt" sign so if all passengers could please take their
seats we will be on our way."

Mattt Enss said...

Do you think Air Canada would have been justified in removing a passenger who is praying if he or she were obviously muslim?

Ruth said...

I have been wondering something similar. The mental comparison the flight attendant obviously made between the man and a Muslim forces me to ask: if he had been a Muslim, would that have made his praying more or less acceptable?

Ruth said...

PS: No, I do not think it would have justified them at all.

Anonymous said...

While the entire incident leaves a bad taste in my mouth as I support an individual's right to pray freely to whomever they choose, I must say that history (old and new) shows that many slaughters have taken place immediately after giving homage to God. From the crusades to Mid-east radicals.....all have invoked God before the bloodletting began. Ergo, it would make me uncomfortable to sit next to anyone on a plane who began invoking the almighty.

Anonymous said...

As a Muslim, who tries to pray on time, and have done so on flights, I am absolutely outraged at the treatment meted out to this gentlemen.Since when has trying to pray become associated with violence?This is the kind of paranoia that is getting out of hand.I wish that this man sues the airline for a substantial amount of money.

Ransom said...

ruth asked:

if he had been a Muslim, would that have made his praying more or less acceptable?

Not per se, but keep in mind that the normal stance for Muslim daily prayers is on the floor facing Mecca, which could conceivably disrupt the normal operation of the airplane. (I would assume that Islamic teachings are able to accommodate alternatives when this is infeasible. At least, I'd like to assume that.)

Temujin said...

Perhaps people should simply act normal while on airplanes.

Read a book, stare at the scenery, force down the "meals"... ya know? Like the rest of us do.

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