Finding religious respect and common sense |

Finding religious respect and common sense

Bob Sweigert

Have you heard the story of the six imams? Do you know what an imam is? No, an imam is not the latest handheld computerized gadget that does everything for you (just like the last one did), like an I-pod, or an Envy.

An imam is a kind of person. I researched it, just to satisfy the primitive-minded among us who still think you need all the facts to know the truth about things. You don’t. All you need is common sense, if it’s still allowed.

An imam can be anything from someone who reads from the Koran during a prayer service, to a Muslim scholar or holy man. The six imams in this case were dressed like playboys, so I am not sure where they fall on the imam scale of prestige and holiness.

The six imams were denied boarding a flight after the pilot received numerous complaints from other passengers about their suspicious behavior. The six are now suing the airline. Civil rights attorney Michael Gross, among other pseudo-patriotic pinheads, is coming to their defense. Mr. Gross maintains the passengers were ignorant of Islamic culture, intolerant and racist.

I suppose understanding, post-9/11 American airport culture would be too much to ask of Mr. Gross and the ever-so enlightened imams.

Ordinary airline passengers have a religious principle of their own they like to practice in public. It is called taking off and landing safely.

Basically, Mr. Gross is saying the passengers on the plane, and the majority of Americans for that matter, are just a bunch of uneducated imbeciles. Have you heard his nonsense? Mr. Gross is absolutely twisted and shallow in his comprehension of things.

The fear of the passengers for their own safety, reasonable or unreasonable, trumps any other concern. And once those imam dudes started singing the praises of Osama Bin Laden, which they did, it was no longer about religion anyway. At that point it became strictly an issue of terrorism, flight safety and common sense.

The fact that the imams did not respond to the situation with a kind, loving, understanding of the post-9/11 jitters the passengers were justifiably experiencing shows us the depth of their particular brand of Muslim spirituality.

The poor imams had their feelings hurt, feelings warped by spiritual pride and arrogance. They say they were discriminated against for practicing their religion in public (like the Pharisees in the Bible who prayed on street corners to draw attention to themselves). What they were really practicing was false piety. They insult Islam by filing a lawsuit. They are the ones who don’t understand their faith. Islam means surrender to God’s peace.

These six imams could have set a good example, but they failed the test. The simple, indisputable fact is that the imams scared the daylights out of the passengers, who had every right to be concerned. Passengers and pilots are under no obligation at all to risk a hijacking, an in-flight explosion or cockpit takeover out of respect for anybody’s religious culture, status or civil rights.

This political correctness thing is obviously getting way out of hand. Now, Muslim taxi drivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport are demanding their passengers observe Muslim religious principles ” or walk.

They are refusing service to people carrying alcohol and to blind people with seeing-eye dogs because alcohol is a sin and dog saliva is unclean.

If there is anything funny about this story, it is that I am just thankful for the imams that the plane was not in mid-flight when they were kicked off.

And, riding in a taxi is a religious experience. Makes sense to me. Where else is someone more likely to experience the fear of God?

Let’s just give them the whole country. Perhaps they can set an example for us of just how thoroughly understanding people should be of other cultures and religions.

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