Remember those six imams who were pulled off their flight a couple weeks ago? A few of them had prayed in the waiting lounge prior to the flight, and they happened to be assigned seats in “suspicious locations.” In addition to that, they had, horror of horrors, requested for seat belt extenders, and we all know that is the signal that you are about to hijack an aircraft. And, oh my dear God, some passengers had overheard them say the word “Allah.” If that does not seal the case, what does?!
Yes, this is all tongue-in-cheek. Praying, calling on Allah (or God, Jesus, or Yahweh) utilizing seat belt extenders, and sitting in seats assigned by the airline don’t really sound like part of a huge terror plot to me. But, hey, what does an oppressed Muslimah really know, huh? *
Well, now, for these imam’s pains and humiliation, apparently something good might be coming out of it. The Associated Press has reported that “Airport officials said Friday they will consider setting aside a private area for prayer and meditation at the request of imams concerned about the removal of six Muslim clerics from a US Airways flight last week.”
That sounds like awesome news to me. I have prayed in airport lounges before, and I have prayed in airports with separate prayer rooms, and the latter is vastly more comfortable. I am quite surprised that this idea came so late to the United States. One of the magnificent things about South Africa is that Muslims have prayer areas, separate for men and women, with complete wudhu facilities, in most major malls and airports. Its about time we had something like that here: we are a part of the society, a part of the economy, and its too bad that it takes a crisis before such a thing is even considered. I don’t expect an area designed for Muslim use only; they will more than likely make it a general area for people of all faiths to use in conjunction, but something is better than nothing.
Let us all hope and pray to Allah that this idea goes into effect. It would be a marvelously comforting thing in these uncomfortable times.
*I am not really an oppressed Muslimah…for those who might need clarification!