Posted by Farcage (220.127.116.11) on January 08, 2002 at 03:33:14:
In Reply to: Ben Laden's Christians posted by Catch of the day on October 05, 2001 at 01:06:34:
: After burning a Church in Chicago, now even the US Friendly Skies is not friendly even to Iraqi Crosses.
: Some naive Kurds think the West likes them because they are from the Arian Race (right after the German Shepard)
: Some equally naive Arab/Chaldean Christians think that the West like them because they wear a 4 feet long Cross on their chest.
: Well, they are in for a surprise when they will find that neither their Kurdish Blue eyes, nor their Pure Gold Crosses will get them even a Back Seat in an airplane, even when they are innocent American citizens, and have bought a first class tickets, and even when they write on their forehead, "WE ARE NEITHER ARAB, NOR MUSLIMS".
: And one day, when the West will not need the Arab Oil, they will not let them even use public bathrooms, no matter how blue, and how Christian they are.
: Brothers, your fate is to be one of us.
: 3 of Arab descent file a lawsuit over removal from flight
: By David Mendell and Matt O'Connor
: Tribune staff reporters
: Published October 4, 2001
: In what promises to be the first of many such legal complaints filed across the country, three men of Middle Eastern descent, including two from the Chicago area, filed a federal lawsuit against United Airlines Wednesday contending they were kicked off a flight because of their ethnicity.
: The lawsuit follows more than a dozen complaints that airline passengers who look like they might be Arabs have been denied seats on commercial airplanes, or were removed from aircraft, because pilots, crew members or passengers said they felt unsafe flying with them.
: "I'm a citizen. I've got a cross around my neck and I got nothing to be ashamed of," said one of the lawsuit's three plaintiffs, Ninos Youkhana, 20, who is of Iraqi descent, but was born in the United States and is a U.S. citizen. Youkhana lives with his parents in Northfield, where the family runs a parking business.
: Dozens of complaints
: The American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in Washington said it has documented at least a dozen cases of such incidents since the attacks on Washington and New York on Sept. 11. The group believes more incidents have gone unreported because the victims are afraid of taking their concerns public.
: Although some alleged victims have contacted attorneys and threatened legal action, no lawsuits had been filed until Wednesday, said Kareem Shora, a legal adviser with the committee.
: The phenomenon prompted Norman Wickman, assistant director for aviation consumer protection for the U.S. Department of Transportation, to issue a statement last week encouraging airlines to inform employees that it is illegal to discriminate against people based on race, ethnicity or religion.
: At least two carriers, Delta and United, complied with Wickman's request. And Shora said the incidents seem to have tapered off in recent days after airlines were reminded of civil rights law by the federal government.
: In the Chicago case, Youkhana, his father, Younadam Youkhana, and a third traveler, Sami Shlimon, an Iraqi resident, said their civil rights were violated when they were kicked off a United flight from Phoenix to Chicago on Sept. 25.
: They contend the plane they boarded was evacuated, allegedly for mechanical problems. But the three men were not allowed to reboard along with other passengers, the lawsuit said, asserting that a female passenger on the flight had raised "baseless concerns" about the three because of their Middle Eastern appearance.
: Airport officials detained the men for about 20 minutes, questioning them, searching their luggage and running background checks.
: Even though the FBI told United officials the men were not a security risk, they were forced to take a later flight, the lawsuit said.
: "If they were a security threat, why would they let them on the next plane?" asked Terence J. Moran, their attorney.
: `It has to stop.'
: Ninos Youkhana said the three filed the lawsuit to "get the word out there they can't be doing this all the time and it has to stop." His father immigrated to the United States in the 1970s to escape oppression in his native Iraq, he said. Both are Syrian Christians.
: A spokesman for United said he did not have details of the incident and declined to comment on the lawsuit.
: In a company newsletter distributed Sept. 28, United urged employees who had concerns about a passenger to relay the information to the captain. If the captain shares the concern, security personnel should be contacted, the newsletter said.
: But the article also stressed that employees should not "let these events turn us into people suspicious of others based on the way they look. If we let that happen, then the terrorists will have beaten us."
: Still, Arab-American leaders sense that people in their community are being profiled and that the term "Flying While Arab" is becoming part of the lexicon in a parallel to the phrase "Driving While Black," which is a concern of the African-American community.
: An atmosphere of fear and hostility toward several million people of Arab descent in the United States has caused many to stop flying because they do not want to be subjected to scrutiny that pushes the boundaries of harassment, said Hussein Ibish, a spokesman for the committee.
: "This takes us back to the days of Montgomery, Alabama, when a black person couldn't sit at a lunch counter," Ibish said.
: "One has to have sympathy for the human emotion of the pilots and passengers who are reacting with fear, but you have to take note of reason and restrain one's fearful impulses," Ibish said.
: The issue underscores a potential conflict for airport authorities: how to identify potential terrorists without considering ethnicity given that the Bush administration alleges that the Sept. 11 attacks were perpetrated by Middle Eastern terrorists.One security expert said separating the two is impossible, and a certain amount of profiling is inevitable to keep the country safe.
: "I hate to put it this way, but these folks are going to have to get over it. If you are young, male and Middle Eastern, you are just going to have to be profiled for a period of time," said Neil Livingstone, a security expert and chairman and CEO of GlobalOptions, an international risk management firm in Washington.
: "Our Constitution does not say that all people have the right to board a plane," Livingstone said.
: But those who feel victimized by aggressive profiling said that tolerance should be a top priority.
: "I felt completely humiliated," said Ali Khadraoui, an Algerian-born resident of Washington, D.C., who said he was denied service, handcuffed, strip-searched and detained for hours last week by airport security in Paris.
: "The only thing they didn't do was beat me up," he said. "I kept saying, `What did I do wrong?' But it was all because of the way I looked
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