"When you think of the media, and the way they have been portraying this case, it has not been very helpful. It has been biased… That has caused a lot of stress, … as well as made it difficult for us to handle this ... in a manner that it should be handled."More Senatorial complaining about talk radio and the Amnesty Bill? No, this is about an attempt to suppress public access to information about a lawsuit initiated by CAIR. Mr. Omar T. Mohammedi, a New York attorney, is handling it for the putative plaintiffs. They are the six (non)flying imams who scared the bejesus out of US Airways’ passengers in the fall of 2006. The imams are suing because they consider their civil rights to have been violated as a result of being ejected from the flight.
In addition to naming US Airways and Minnesota Metropolitan Airports Commission in the suit, they’ve “named” a number of “John Does” - the passengers who they feel discriminated against them for “flying while being Muslim.” That’s their phrase. By all other accounts it would be better put as, “attempting to fly while being obnoxious, provocative, bizarre, and oh yes, Muslim.” The suit is widely believed to be intended to encourage future passengers of such flights to ignore this typical Muslim behavior. That's part of the defense - they were just observing their religion, though Islam is not generally considered to require praying twice at sundown. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
The passengers and flight crew observed these Imamic behaviors: Brandishing Korans, praying loudly in Arabic in an airport terminal, dissing the President of the United States, refusing to obey the flight crew, behaving strangely once aboard the aircraft - they did not sit together and took seats not assigned to them in front of the emergency exits.
This may be standard operating procedure elsewhere in the world. However, one can appreciate, even anticipate, how this combination of coincidences might not pass as normal in Minneapolis. One can also appreciate how and why it might have been staged by these recent attendees of a Minneapolis conference of the North American Imams Federation.
Omar Shahin is president of the executive committee of that group. He is also one of the imams removed from the US Airways flight. He is a former representative of the former KindHearts of Toledo, Ohio. KindHearts is former because it was shut down by the Treasury Department in February 2006 as a shill for Hamas.
Mr. Shahin says he cut his ties with KindHearts as soon as they came under scrutiny, Imam disputes tie to Hamas
“Mr. Shahin was a representative and fundraiser for KindHearts, which the Treasury Department says "coordinated with Hamas leaders and made contributions to Hamas-affiliated organizations," in a Feb. 19 statement after freezing the groups' assets.Apparently, though, he was not concerned about joining a “charity” spun off by an al Qaeda affliate. Neither does he quail at supporting those convicted of funneling millions to terrorists in Iraq, such as Rafil Dhafir; currently serving 22 years in federal prison.
KindHearts was established by Khaled Smaili, an official with the Global Relief Foundation, after the government froze the al Qaeda-affiliated foundation's assets, according to the Treasury Department.
"When they shut down, I had no clue what they were doing," Mr. Shahin said. "I made sure they are licensed as an American organization with the federal government and states, and that's all I did, I was just a fundraiser and representative.
"I stopped and have no relations with anyone, anymore, because they are under investigation."
Mr. Mohammedi's explanation of the need to suppress information normally available to the public in a civil suit included this:
"We are just asking the media to be balanced and reflect what was said ... and to let justice take its course. I'm asking the media to be a little bit more responsible in reporting the facts of the case. That actually would prevent a lot of issues."The amazing part is that he's probably talking mainly about the Associated Press, an organization vying with Reuters for the title of "Anti-Western Reporting Network." AP itself raises the suspicion that they are the target (first link in this post).
The US District Judge had this response to Mr. Mohammedi's petition:
“In a letter dated Tuesday and addressed to Mohammedi, U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery noted that Mohammedi had requested that the court remove members of the media from an electronic distribution list, bar members of the media from attending hearings, and hold proceedings in closed session.Montgomery squashed CAIR's attempt to assuage the embarrassment they must feel at having brought this suit. CAIR’s combination of poor judgment and outlandish hubris is probably why their membership has declined 90%, from more than 29,000 in 2000 to less than 1,700 in 2006. Either that's causing it, or it's discrimination. The good news for CAIR is that they're still receiving about three million a year from a dozen donors. Chew on that a minute.
"The Court declines to treat this case in the extraordinary manner that you request," the judge wrote. She added that the public and press have an interest in full access to judicial proceedings under the First Amendment.”
It’s also good news for Mr. Mohammedi’s opponents in this suit.
TOC has previously commented on the Flying Imams:
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Fly US Airways, it's safer
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Minneapolis Airport plot moves forward
Sunday, December 03, 2006
A speculation confirmation
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Raging and Braying, Identity politics around the world
Monday, December 11, 2006
There's certainly smoke
Wednesday, December 13, 2006