Okay… I am a little steamed about this.
Plane Quarantined After Being Diverted to Philadelphia
Thursday, January 21, 2010
A flight was diverted to Philadelphia from LaGuardia Airport after a passenger was reportedly mistaken for having a bomb.
The U.S. Air flight from LaGuardia to Louisville was diverted after a man allegedly strapped on a "tefillin," a device mistaken as an "explosive device," CBS 3 reports. A tefillin has two small black boxes with straps. One box is placed on the head and the other is tied to the arm.
A law enforcement official says the man questioned is not a threat.
The plane was quarantined in Philadelphia after a number of firetrucks and police officers met them on the tarmac. [Because a man was praying.]
Passengers were all safely taken off the USAir flight, run by Chautequa Air.
The airport is reportedly staying open and flights are not affected.
In other words… the flight was diverted because the man, a Jew, was praying.
Are the flight crews of airlines so ignorant that they don’t know what tefillin are? I find that hard to believe, especially on flights from New York.
TSA staff knew what they were, apparently. And if TSA staff know…
You would think that airlines, in the present environment, would have some training for staff that might include recognizing religious differences. I can see it now: conference room… powerpoint…. "This is a Jew….. this is a Sikh… this is a Catholic…", as the flight attendants stare open-mouthed.
Sometimes on airplanes I have said my breviary. I have said a rosary. Granted, those don’t involve strapping on tefillin and bowing repeatedly while praying. Neither involve shouting allahu akbar and storming the cockpit.
But is praying, in general, now to be held in suspicion on airplanes?
For those of you who don’t know what tefillin are, they are leather straps with small boxes which are bound around the arms and forehead. They contain verses of Scripture. Tefillin are the famous "phylacteries" which the Lord mentions in Matthew 23. They are inspired by Deuteronomy 6, the famous Shema.
Perhaps the only proper behavior on a flight now is to go to sleep and hope you don’t wake up before you land.
"But Father! But Father!", some of you will object. "Isn’t it better to be safe than sorry? You should praise the flight staff for being careful in the face of something they didn’t understand! You might know about tefillin, but lots of people don’t. They may have never heard of them, much less seen them."
We are talking here about a Jew, praying. And flight crews need training.
There are dozens, nay rather, hundreds of more serious security problems and this is the sort of knuckle head stuff they are focused on.