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May 9th, 2011
06:21 AM ET

Should pilots be able to remove passengers because of their appearance?

Two Muslim Imams dressed in traditional garb were removed from a flight in Tennessee. The Imams were on their way to Charlotte, North Carolina for a conference on "Islamophobia", the fear of Islam. After the Imams again cleared security checks, the pilot still refused to fly with the men on board.

This morning, AM is asking: Should pilots be able to remove passengers because of their appearance?

American Morning wants to hear from you. Post your thoughts here.

Filed under: AM Asks
soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. Taalibah Blue- Sky

    As human beings we have the misfortune of continually forgetting the historical events of the past. A satisfactory number of you remember Timothy McVeigh or how about Eric Robert Rudolph who planted the largest pipe bomb made at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, least we should forget four young African-American girls killed in a Church during the Freedom movement for Civil Rights, all acts of terrorism. Should we denigh access to all caucasian men that have a likness to the above sick individuals mentioned. Throughout recorded history there have been power hungry evil men followed by the weak minded, who have used religion to push their agenda. During the Dark Ages great numbers of people were killed in the name of Christ and the Doctrine of Discovery decreed by the Pope in the 1500s is responsible for horrible acts of terrorism of course not by the weapons of distruction today but the results are the same! Wake Up People Read! Study! Peace Be With You!

    May 11, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  2. sam

    Question to the Smart people who Said YES the pilot can remove any one...My question whats the point then to have TSA Dept and checkup?, why don't we fire every one in TSA dept. and let Pilots Screen Every one before they get on the airplane ! this way we will Save money and Time .. ! Right ?
    Now, pilots are human being, they can go crazy too, so should we stop a flight if the passengers don't feel comfortable with the pilots ?
    My answer for every one for God Sake stop your stupidity, if some one have an bad intention, would you think they want to attract attention to them self by wearing Islamic cloths !?

    May 11, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  3. Shelle

    Ugh, the comparison with blacks, gays, nuns, and Jews with yarmulkes is tiresome. Close your eyes and imagine that someone just told you that a plane was hijacked and flown into a building. Are any of us really doubting what religion that person is? How many 21st century Christians and Jews are actively seeking to kill non-Christians and non-Jews just because they are not Christian or Jewish? There is no association between a black or gay person, a nun or a Jew wearing a yarmulke and a plane being blown up. If I were a Muslim? I'd be mad as h@ll that these evil-doers were representing my people in this way. In fact, I would start raising my voice to draw attention to the fact that they ARE NOT representative of who I am, solely because we share the same religion, and that theirs is a GROSS misinterpretation of what Islam is supposed to be. But I would still understand how an Imam dressed in his garb would instill fear in a passenger on a plane.

    Ultimately, should pilots have the right to remove people based on what they are wearing? Well, in the case of a burqa, I believe that they not only can but should remove that passenger. If not, what in the world is the purpose of a photo ID (mind you I did not include headscarves in this)??? Do you think someone would be able to board a plane wearing a mask of some sort? Certainly not, there is no way to verify that the person is who they say they are. As for traditional Islamic garb? I really don't know the answer but I know that people certainly shouldn't be slammed or labeled as racists (Islam is not even a RACE or ethnicity) or bigots because they think that the topic should be discussed.

    May 11, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  4. louis

    Yes, the pilot is responsible for passengers/aircraft safety. If the muslim community wishes to travel comfortably and incognito, they should attempt to assimilate and not segregate themselves from the western culture and community.

    May 10, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
  5. Bella

    Absolutely yes. Also in cases of unusually provocative dress the pilots/airlines should have the option to refuse. A few years ago I was at a Dallas area airport and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a young woman, late teens or early 20's, wearing a sleeveless white blouse (if you could call it that) totally open to the navel with a black push-up bra underneath. If I had been the pilot on her flight she would not have been allowed to board. It was spring break, her mother was dropping her off at the curb and giving her cash to boot. That leads to another question of non-parenting parents...

    May 10, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  6. George

    If passengers are uncomfortable with other passengers on the plane who are not acting unruly (by which I do not mean just annoying), they should be allowed to take another flight. And, if the pilot is uncomfortable flying a plane that has passengers that have been passed as OK by TSA, they really should find another job – perhaps as pilots of cargo planes.

    May 10, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  7. Mike S

    These people either live or are guests in our such they should dress and behave accordingly. They aremost welcometopractice their religous home or in their religous facility. Dont like that...then dont come here...end of story. If you as an american dont like that then you go live in their country.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  8. John

    @Elizabeth, your statement that "all terrorist attacks in the US have been the work of Muslims" is untrue. Have you already forgotten Timothy McVeigh's Oklahoma City bombing? I also doubt it was a Muslim who planted a pipe bomb at a Florida mosque exactly one year ago. Probably not a Muslim who planted a pipe bomb at a Martin Luther King march this January. This box doesn't give me enough space to list attacks perpetrated by white Christians against African American and Jewish places of worship. Jared Lee Loughner, of this year's Tucson attack, doesn't look very Muslim to me. How many reproductive health center bombings do I need to cite? All of those terrorist attacks were the work of Christian extremists.
    No, the problem isn't that pilots can keep passengers off their planes. The problem is that their authority is clearly out of alignment with their expertise in picking WHO to keep of the plane. As usual, prejudice fills in the space filled by ignorance.

    May 9, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
  9. Vera

    It's ironic that the imams were going to an anti-Islam bigotry conference. If we're going to continue throwing stones based on appearances, then we're not evolving as a society–becoming more civilized–or as humanity. For those who are afraid of people in traditional Muslim wear, it's because they're ignorant and assume that everyone is a fundamentalist. If I'm mugged at gunpoint by a black man, does that mean I hate all black people? If a white person calls me a dirty jew, does that mean I hate all white people (I'm white, by the way). I suppose that in a fear mongering, propaganda pushing society of lemmings, comments like Elizabeth's and Dave's above shouldn't shock me. But it's those comments that I most afraid of: ignorance=discrimination=violence=war. Treating Middle Easterners and innocent Muslims in this fashion is not going to curry good feelings with the world–it makes people hateful. Rendition flights and racism are a great recruiting tool for terrorism. Let's get with the program people, learn a little bit about the 'other' and let's move on to a peaceful society...stop the cycle.

    May 9, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
  10. Sonia Baker

    As an American, I'm disgusted by the behavior of the pilot and the airline. As a Jewish American, who has read about the end of the Weimar Republic and how Jews were treated, it sends shivers of recognition down my spine. Such prejudice is cruel and shameful–and quite stupid. If there is danger in the skies, it will not necessarily wear Islamic garb.

    Sonia Baker

    May 9, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  11. John

    Absolutely. The Captain of the ship is the ultimate authority. He can remove whomever he likes, as he is responsible for everyone. If a Captain is abusing this authority, then make your case. But in the moment, he is in charge of the aircraft, boat, bus, or whatever it is.

    May 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  12. Dee (USA)

    Well if we AMERICANS Are ignorant and foolish because of one guy kicking two muslims off a plane wow. everyone in America is not responsible for his action only him people here just want someone to blame IM AN AMERICAN for life wrong or right we live like no other country we live safe RED WHITE AND BLUE YOU DONT LIKE IT LEAVE

    May 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  13. Lori

    Pilots should have to be fair and have a very good reason for making a passenger leave the plane. Just because the 9/11 hijackers were Muslim doesn't mean that a pilot should feel free to whenever he wants ban a Muslim person from riding on the plane because he "might" be a terrorist. I think there should be some accounting here, it's just not fair for a pilot to have all of that power and no one to answer to when he makes an unfair call.

    May 9, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  14. Khalid Abdul-Khaliq

    Remember Timmothy McVeigh the Oklahoma City Bomber. Remember the KKK – Burning down churches in the south. Lynching blacks for no reason. Muslims are not perfect neither are White Christain are not perfect. If y'all would just give me my 40 acreas and a mule that you owe me, I'll never have a reason to fly on your planes.

    May 9, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  15. Danielle

    First of all, the actions of one pilot and a handful of suspicious passengers do not comprise the entirety of this country, nor represent the manifold ideals and opinions of its citizens, just as a country's government does not represent the whole of its people. So, no, "This situation just reaffirms that America is not the country it purports to be to the rest of a world." The fact that this story is making such waves should propose the opposite, and there are plenty of *actual* situations that do reaffirm that America is not the country it purports to be. Using this scenario to cast a blanket of blame is as sad and pathetic as the pilot who removed these passengers.

    Second, all of the terrorists involved in actual or attempted destruction aboard planes were dressed in "regular" Western clothing so as NOT to draw any unwarranted attention. Many shaved their beards, wore business suits, and did everything they could to "blend in" to avoid attracting suspicion. In reality, you should feel more comfortable with someone clothed in full religious dress than businessmen in first class.

    Finally, in the famous words of Benjamin Franklin, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." If America desires to maintain any sense of its global "preeminence," she–and all of her citizens–have an obligation to maintain awareness, empathy, respect, and understanding toward difference instead of the knee-jerk, reactive labeling as "Other" and then "Other" as "dangerous."

    That these imams were flying to a conference about Islamophobia is a healthy dose of divine irony. That some individual feel that anyone should be removed from a plane (or train or bus or school or hospital, et al.) for no substantive reason whatsoever is simply tragic.

    May 9, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  16. Marc

    Pilots are ultimately responsible for the safety of the passengers, crew, and aircraft. If a pilot has confirmed evidence of a safety issue concerning a passenger then they should be able to remove them off the flight for further screening. In this case the pilot had no evidence to cause concern for anyone on the flight, and knowing TSA their luggage was probably opened, and they were most likely scanned. Let's be honest here, most Muslims aren't terrorists!

    May 9, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  17. Tracey

    Are pilots/flight attendants receiving any type of sensitivity training regarding passengers that may be deemed unsafe for flight? I think with the proper training these situations might be better handled and less news worthy.

    May 9, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  18. dave

    People that plant bombs to blow up inncoent children women and men are overwhelmingly Muslim extremists -- Facts are Facts

    May 9, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  19. dave

    No More Fat Chicks

    May 9, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  20. the truth

    Yes! It's about time people start taking a stand. Would a man in a KKK costume be allowed to travel on a flight and not make people uncomfortable? Take a poll: How many Americans would be uncomfortable traveling with a first class cabin filled with people in these Muslim outfits... I'm guessing you'd top 95%.

    May 9, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  21. daveinpa

    "ignorance and tolerance of culture" "discrimination" "back of the bus" ""catch the gay" "racism" "the back of the plane" "BIGOTRY" blah blah blah ....all the anti-american, pro-euro, liberal spewed talking points rolled into one thread.

    when will people face up to the fact that there is a war going on between islam and modern civilization!!! Every Pro-sharia, devote muslim abhors western culture and wishes to islamize the entire world. Moderate muslims do NOTHING to address the issue nor change their radical brothers minds
    An average teenage american girl walking alone down the street of many middle eastern muslim cities very well could be raped and killed with little or no consequence. Non-muslim foreign visitors must adhere to THEIR customs and religious imposed rules and regulations and yet come to America and expect us to be understanding and tolerant??

    May 9, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  22. Bob

    Federal law grants the authority to the pilot-in-command.

    From the Code of Fedearal Regulations CFR 49, Title 14, FAR 91.3:
    Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.
    (a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.

    Basing a decision to remove a passenger based only on appearance would be (obviously) controversial. However, the pilot bears the responsibility for the safety of the flight and has the authority to ensure the same.

    May 9, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
  23. Frank

    At a time when there is obviously tension and heightened concern why couldn't these clerics in this case and everyone else for that matter make an extra effort to cooperate and not raise red flags? Isn't it common courtesy? When I go through screening I try to not have jewelery that will set off the detectors and slow other passengers down; I have my papers handy and do what I can to make things go smoother. I wish everyone would consider the feelings of the Nation instead of their own personal grievances for a change.

    May 9, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
  24. slider

    Whatever the answer is it must be a politically correct one. Political correctness will save the world. We must never forget that the one individual or even his view of the world is much more important than society as a whole. We must always be so open minded that our brains are constantly in danger of falling out. The polit needs to be sent to a reeducation camp to learn political correctness because as it stands his views and beliefs mean nothing.

    May 9, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  25. Dan

    I got an idea. Don't wear towels on your head when you board an airplane. I get the whole tolerance thing, but people judge others on how they look. Period. Not just religious garb, but if you dress down you are going to be treated differently no matter where you are.

    May 9, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  26. Arif

    It’s not a black thing, it’s not a KKK thing, it’s not a racist thing… This is only an Islam thing. Though of Muslim background, I am uncomfortable sitting next to a bearded angry imam on an airplane.
    I never dress like Bin Ladin and don't have an unkempt "Muslim" beard, therefore have never been profiled on an airport though I fly frequently. This is pure provocation; men don't dress like they are about to ride a camel. Every white American male cannot and should not know that imams dress like Bin Ladin before boarding a plane; he looks like a terrorist, dresses like a terrorist....maybe he ...
    Muslims should stop trying to “teach them a lesson” and blend with the folks, dress like you live in the US and not BFE. Muslim women please take off that black tent, it’s scary and besides Halloween comes only once a year.
    Pilot of the ship can get rid of a passenger he/she feels poses a danger.

    May 9, 2011 at 10:49 am |
  27. Tvar

    The Captain's word of any vessel he is "Captain" of, is FINAL, be it a ship, a plane, or a go-cart!

    May 9, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  28. Mimi

    Why aren't people targeting or profiling all Asian's since an Asian man decided to shoot up VTech? Or how about young White males since Timothy McVeigh blew up a church in OK? There are other people out there other than Muslims that have committed an act against American. I understand that what the extremeists did was horrible, and may not be able to be compared to what the people above did, but if we're going to profile people, in all fairness, everyone needs to be profiled.

    May 9, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  29. Mike

    In a short and simple answer, no someone should not be removed just based on what they are wearing. I find it very unlikely that the pilots only removed them based on their clothing. Something else must have happened, maybe a comment was made, they wouldn't answer questions, etc. We really need to hear both sides of the story as why it happened. If it truly was on their cloths that that's a shame. Let's not condemn the pilots without their side. A key thing to remember is that pilots are responsible for the safety of the entire plane, they make judgement calls based on that. Hopefully their call was based on merit.

    May 9, 2011 at 9:52 am |
  30. Steve McMahon

    Tolerance goes both ways. Should we strive to be tolerant of other other religions?


    But they need to be tolerant of the fact that a bunch of guys dressed up in Muslim garb on my airplane is going to make a hell of alot of Americans nervous. Why does that make me a jerk?

    May 9, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  31. Jim Siler

    Elizabeth: "all terror attacks on the US have been the work of Muslim extremists". Yeah, right. And Timothy McVeigh was a Muslim. And the Aryan Nation, and the Ku Klux Klan.

    May 9, 2011 at 9:34 am |
  32. Dahan Mohamed

    I noticed the attorney for the imams was wearing a suit perhaps he will advise his clients to dress as he did. There is nothing wrong with traditional clothing except for the fact that many people are not accustomed to it. This was avoidable, the Clerics could have changed at the event they were going to.

    May 9, 2011 at 9:24 am |
  33. Maxine Ackerson

    ABSOLUTELY !! People say they (Pilots) shouldn't be able to remove people because of "how they look".I think they should be able to use their discretion even on a hunch. The Muslims on 9/11 were also "cleared" through Security and we all sadly know what happened then. The pilot is the person who is responsible for the aircraft and it's passengers, it's too late once he is airborne to second guess himself and his decision. I would like to think I was "in the hands" of a pilot such as this one, who took my safety seriously enough that he was prepared to let the "chips" fall where they may INSTEAD OF my body pieces. Kudos to him !!!

    May 9, 2011 at 9:20 am |
  34. stephen spencer

    Here's a thought am crew: Ali Velshi, what kind of name is that?!
    Elmer Fudd #1: "Well he's dressed in a western suit, but I don't know"
    Elmer Fudd#2: " Yeah, and that name & his skin color..... that suit could be a disguise, heck he looks pakistani or Eyerainin or somethin' and he could be one of those sleeper people!"
    Fudd#1 "sleeper cells", Fudd#2 ,"yeah, sleeper cells!!"
    Its not too far of a walk from here to there. Just ask Japanese Americans
    living in California in 1942.

    May 9, 2011 at 9:18 am |
  35. Mary

    I absolutely think the pilots made the correct decision. Whatever the reason that they made the decision, it wasn't "just because" these people appeared to be Muslim/in Muslim dress–otherwise they simply would have been removed at the gate. I find it ridiculous that people are upset because these men had already gone through security and should therefore be deemed safe to fly-are you kidding me? Have you forgotten that just under 10 years ago that 19 men made it through (and probably more that we will never know about)security and killed thousands of people??? I guess you all think they should have been deemed "safe" too? By the way the passengers that felt uncomfortable (and I believe there were–as a flight attendant I have to field worries and complaints for a variety of reasons on a daily basis) and then suddenly changed their stories, apparently to the attorney for these men, are certainly afraid of being sued and afraid of retribution. Yes, we as a society think being a litigious bunch of people is far more important than being safe. Sorry, EVEN IF they made a mistake, I would rather have a pilot or two or ten err on the side of caution.....especially in this heightened security period where extremists are vowing retaliation for OBL death.

    May 9, 2011 at 9:09 am |
  36. loosebit

    You people are sick. Of course they shouldn't be kicked off a plane because of how they look. Would you like to go to Ramadi and get stoned because you are wearing pants? Free Plug

    May 9, 2011 at 9:08 am |
  37. Rob H.

    I suggest an amendment to the Star Spangled Banner..

    "0'er the land of the sorta free..
    And the home of the afraid."

    Remember when the U.S. was a symbol of freedom and fearlessness?

    Now... Not so much.

    May 9, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  38. Mark

    I think the situation looks exactly like racial profiling, but I think it's completely justified in the week after the death of Osama.

    As Americans, we have the right to practice our religion openly and freely, but if it makes other people uncomfortable, then it is absolutely ok to refuse service if it impacts the right to enjoy the flight for everybody else.

    I am upset that this is a new's story. They had a lawyer ready and waiting to attack this seemingly setup situation. I hope these guys get no compensation, or maybe just a free round-trip ticket anywhere in the U.S. for the inconvenience. CNN RULES!!!

    May 9, 2011 at 9:03 am |
  39. Carol Dittoe

    Absolutely not! What right do pilots, or anyone, have in being the decision-makers on who looks or doesn't look questionable? Obviously if someone is overtly carrying things that are threatening others, those people need to be retained and questioned. But, unless a dress code for flying is created, people are going to dress in a multitude of ways, for comfort, convenience, or religious convictions. Who is to determine what "suspicious" looks like? And, really, is a terrorist going to dress in a manner that makes him or her stand out from the "normal" people?

    May 9, 2011 at 8:51 am |
  40. rob

    BIGOTRY is alive and thriving in the good ol USA. I say we go back to the days of white supremesy and make it clear that unless your white and christian you ill not be tolerated here. Really I'm so sick and embarresed with the ignorance in this country. We have enough issues to deal with than to spend time dealling with the same issues our forefathers dealt with over two hundred years ago.

    May 9, 2011 at 8:36 am |
  41. Herb Mahanay

    It is well known that Muslims have attempted to blow up airliners (shoe & underwear bombers). They should not be allowed to fly on airlines.
    i would not want to fly with them onboard.

    May 9, 2011 at 8:33 am |
  42. eliza

    I am a muslim woman. I was born in the USA and am an American raised in the midwest. I fly frequently and I dont mind that I am often pulled out for additional scrutiny because of the way I dress. I know this is done for my safety too. I am confused on how a pilot doing the job of flying all kinds of people to various locations can make that decision on his own based on the way a person looks. I cover my hair, does this mean any flight I take can refuse me because of this? I now wonder when I purchase my ticket if i will be able to use it. What if the pilot doesnt like african americans or chinese people?

    May 9, 2011 at 8:31 am |
  43. Dahan Mohamed

    Well because of the times I would say yes. I am a 3rd generation Muslim and I can tell you when ever I wear traditional Muslim clothing, not cleric or anything just classic comfy clothes people who are not used to it seem to become uncomfortable around me. One becomes stereo typed, and one will get un-wanted attention; because this person chose wear clothing that many people are unfamiliar with. Frankly the clothes themselves make the person and many people have only seen terrorists wearing it. Change your clothing to a dark suit and people can admire your classic looks which are not classic hijab.,..dahan mohamed

    May 9, 2011 at 8:25 am |
  44. Steve B

    YES!! I would like to know his name, I want to request on his flights. This would have been spun in the opposite way had anything happened on that flight, everyone would have in outraged that the polit should have done something to protect the passangers. Hats off to the polit for being PROACTIVE.

    May 9, 2011 at 8:20 am |
  45. Kevin

    No one should be denied civil right to fly without just cause. Appearance is not just cause, its racial prejudice.

    May 9, 2011 at 8:17 am |
  46. Greg

    While I totally agree that the Captain is in charge of his aircraft, one wonders if there's pilot ego or embarrasment at play in this instance. It is most troubling that the pilot did not relent after rescreening. This was a second tier airline correct? What type of DHS security training does this pilot have?We see studies and stories that pilots from these carriers have little time and their training may not be as robust as the major carrier staff. Just wondering

    May 9, 2011 at 8:15 am |
  47. Serineh Saki

    Air mashalls, flight attendants and pilots should be trained for suspicious behavior however removing anyone they find 'suspicious' is wrong. This is why racism continues in our country. Haven't we learned that not EVERY MUSLIM is a bad person? This is a wrong message. If the passenger is obviously unruly that's a different story but just because they're wearing traditional garb doesn't constitute a good reason for removal. This is discrimination, against our Constitution and morally wrong. There are people trying to make a difference in this world and the way they dress is a poor excuse!

    May 9, 2011 at 8:14 am |
  48. tam

    No, and the fact that the question is being asked is quite disturbing. Maybe they will be comfortable if they sit at "the back of the plane" Look at what this is doing to us. Fear is forcing us to turn back time.

    May 9, 2011 at 8:13 am |
  49. Herb Mahanay

    It is a known fact that Muslims have attempted to blow up airliners in fflight (shoe & underwear bombers) therefore I would not want to fly with any. They should be removed from the flight.
    In my opinion no Muslims should be allowed on an airliner because this is the current threat.

    May 9, 2011 at 8:12 am |
  50. remsoft

    I can understand passenger fears about someone dressed as an apparent enemy. During the 30's and 40's would we not be frightened of a Nazi SS officer trying to board a plane??

    Solution: Once a weekly or daily flight for those who wish to dress in traditional Islamic garb.

    May 9, 2011 at 8:11 am |
  51. Marvin

    This is the same as, "Should a Captain of a Ship be able to remove, or put in irons, an unruly passenger?" The question is one that shouldn't even be asked!

    May 9, 2011 at 8:09 am |
  52. v khan

    Oh, and did I say I was a woman?

    May 9, 2011 at 8:03 am |
  53. v khan

    Try being a blond american christian flying alone and on PIA flights from Dubai to Islamabad, Islamabad to dubai, Dubai to Qutar, Qutar to Dubai, Dubai to Karachi, karachi to Islamabad, Islamabad to Dubai all on PIA (pakistani International airlines....) what a rough ride...

    May 9, 2011 at 8:00 am |
  54. Jason

    I am disgusted by the fact that we are even asking this question. Considering this country's founding principles, I am truly amazed that some Americans agree with this pilot's actions. Sadly, our country seems to thrive on the existence of an enemy or an "other" – and Muslims have become the scapegoat for all our frustrations.

    May 9, 2011 at 7:59 am |
  55. bianca

    No because it's violating people rights, Their appearance should not dictate their intent.

    May 9, 2011 at 7:54 am |
  56. Michael Cast

    Pilots job is to fly like a taxi driver he or she takes you from point a to point b that’s it. They need to leave the security work to the professionals, who are trained to do that and the security professionals who are trained on security and screened them did clear them as a No security risk and let them in to the Air Port.
    They had a boarding pass they cleared security and that is all they need to do to get on the plane. It’s funny but not too long ago black people were not allowed to set on buses, eat in restaurants drink water and more unless they were white and if they did, they will end up kicked out, prosecuted or at some cases killed.
    whats going on is very wrong....

    May 9, 2011 at 7:49 am |
  57. kamran yousufzai

    Yes,even the security clearence has been given.this should be the pilot's decision as he will be the incharge of flight's safety

    May 9, 2011 at 7:47 am |
  58. Stevr carter

    The aircraft commander has ultimate responsibility for any airborne emergency and should therefore have the ability to be proactive in limiting any threats no matter how remote. 

    May 9, 2011 at 7:47 am |
  59. bianca

    No because they are violating people rights, Their appearance should not be an indicator of their intent.

    May 9, 2011 at 7:47 am |
  60. Lori McKinney

    I am deeply troubled by the "appearance" prejudice. It is similar to Hitler and the Ku Klux Klan. Every Jew was to be feared and oppressed; every Black was to be feared and oppressed; now, every Muslim is to be feared and oppressed?

    "We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers. "
    Martin Luther King Jr.

    The pilot should be fired – we as a free society cannot tolerate this kind of prejudice and oppression; too many of our men and women have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country to ensure freedom and liberty for all regardless of race, color or creed.

    May 9, 2011 at 7:47 am |
  61. Stacey

    Ask for additional screening? Absolutely! Remove from the plane based on "feelings?" No way! What about when a pilot gets a bad feeling whenever he see's a woman? An African-American? A yarmulke? When fear or suspicion is based on feeling rather than facts or evidence, it's called prejudice. You don't reward or support it! People need to remember that terrorists come in every race, color and religion. Remember McVeigh. the IRA, the ETA, LTTE?

    May 9, 2011 at 7:47 am |
  62. Vilma Anderson

    If the shoe fits wear it. If it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, behaves like a duck, what can I say: must be a duck.

    The pilots have a big responsibility towards his passengers. The muslims don't like it, then have them fly on Egyptian Airlines, Qatar, etc.
    Americans don't trust them for obvious reasons. We are considered infidels and as such, we are to be annihilated, so why should we cater to their needs when all they want to do is hurt us.

    May 9, 2011 at 7:45 am |
  63. Gene Wentzel

    As a pilot and flight instructor myself, I can say that the pilot absolutely possesses the authority to remove a passenger or at least refuse to fly the aircraft with a passender on board that he or she has determined compromises safety. The FAA states that "The pilot in command of an aircrat is directly responsible for, and is the *final authority* as to, the operation of that aircraft." FAR 91.3(a)

    May 9, 2011 at 7:44 am |
  64. VeeBee

    When are y'all going to talk about the dozens and dozens of Christians being slaughtered in the ME? What about the many churches that are being torched?

    May 9, 2011 at 7:43 am |
  65. Realist

    A lot of you try to compare this to the oppression of gays and of African Americans. What you have to remember is that neither gays nor African Americans have had a segment of their population declare war against the US. If radical gays starting blowing up plans and declaring war against the US then pilots should have the right to deny them passage. Otherwise no, wake up Americans, you are PC'ing yourself right into a grave.

    May 9, 2011 at 7:24 am |
  66. Steve

    Absolutely! In fact they must remove passengers they consider suspicious; no matter what the reason may be.

    May 9, 2011 at 7:08 am |
  67. mgloch

    Pilots should not be able to remove passengers solely based on their appearance because of the potential for countless acts of discrimination. There must have been racism involved when it the pilot kicked those men off his flight. I'm Filipino, and I don't want to be kicked off a flight because there are some extremist groups in the Philippines. This would not have happened if those men had the same skin color, but were dressed in orthodox Jewish clothes...

    May 9, 2011 at 7:06 am |
  68. david williams

    Unless the passengers actually do something suspicious pilots should not be allowed to remove passengers.
    Just because you don't like the way someone looks is no reason to get away with this.

    May 9, 2011 at 7:04 am |
  69. Mariah

    This situation just reaffirms that America is not the country it purports to be to the rest of a world. America is not a country with religious freedom and racial equality. The fact that the pilot insisted they be removed from this plane, even though the imams passed trough additional screening, shows that this was not motivated by a safety concern, but by a racial and religious bias, and the pilot's on fear of something different than him (or her) self. It's a shame, and the airline shouldn't have stood for it. It sets a very dangerous precedent.

    May 9, 2011 at 7:03 am |
  70. Kate

    Who would say yes to this question? Next thing you know, homosexual passengers will be asked to de-board so kids don't "catch the gay" and then we're back to colored and white flights just to appease the racists. No one should be able to make these sort of decisions based on appearance, race, creed, gender, ethnic origin, etc.

    May 9, 2011 at 7:02 am |
  71. Ben

    not if appearance was the only factor

    May 9, 2011 at 7:01 am |
  72. Autumn

    I guess it depends, if the certain individual is wearing something like a Freddy Krueger mask and has been asked to take it off and refuses then the poliet has a right to remove him. However if someone is just "ugly" and is distracting some people on the plane, it's not right.

    May 9, 2011 at 7:01 am |
  73. Scott

    Yes the shuld be able to because the pilot and airline would be held accountable should something happen.

    May 9, 2011 at 7:01 am |
  74. Dave

    YES! pilots should be able to remove passengers because of their appearance

    May 9, 2011 at 7:01 am |
  75. Realist

    I love the outrage on this. What the Muslim Imams have to realize is that their radical brothers have made their bed and now they have to sleep in it. It is so easy to criticize these pilots from your news desk but if you were sitting on that plane with your family maybe you would think differently. Does anyone non muslim really think this is wrong?

    May 9, 2011 at 7:01 am |
  76. Janice Saulnier

    Very simple. The complaining passengers should be subject to the same additional screening as the passengers about whom they are complaining. Those passengers that pass the screening should be allowed to continue their travels immediately.

    May 9, 2011 at 7:00 am |
  77. arole Morris

    To me, this is the same mentality that forced blacks to the back of the bus. I was embarrassed then, and I'm embarrassed now.

    May 9, 2011 at 7:00 am |
  78. Saba

    Ofcourse not! That would be pure discrimination. If that does apply then nuns & those wearing "kippahs" or "yarmulkes" should also be targeted. Where is our religious tolerance & on what grounds should the pilots exercise that authority? Based on appearances? Seriously?
    It's a shame!

    May 9, 2011 at 6:46 am |
  79. Darrell

    What happened on the flight shows the growing ignorance and tolerance of cultures. The US is rapidly losing respect of other countries. As a Canadian I clearly display the Canadian flag on my luggage and jacket. This is not so much as to say I am Canadian but to prevent being mistaken as American. Sad to say but this is becoming a more common feeling amongst those who travel abroad.

    May 9, 2011 at 6:42 am |