Islamophobia is rampant. Muslims are faulted, mocked, questioned and accused for following their religious practices/customs. I honestly don’t know how this can be stopped….what I could do.
On my flight home from Egypt a gentleman was sitting across the aisle from me in bulk-head seats. The plane had just taken off (we were to remain seated) The man’s wife and son had kicked off their shoes and put their feet up on the “bulk head” to relax.
He proceeded to stand up; open the overhead compartment; take out special clothing (a bit like a poncho and scarves); sit down and change into it, all the while mumbling under the “poncho” and banging his head on the “wall” in front of him.
The “remain seated” sign remained on. Once again he stood up, opened the overhead; took out a small wooden box and proceeded to remove what appeared to be leather strips with tiny boxes attached. He began winding them around his fingers. And oh yes, he was chanting in a foreign language the entire time.
For much of the flight he walked up and down the aisles staring at passengers. Occasionally he would stop, stare at someone, bob his head up and down as he chanted.
No one said a word to him….not the flight attendants or other passengers. Initially I was a bit frightened but then I realized he was Jewish, orthodox or some special sect and the language was Hebrew.
Boarding the plane I witnessed a number of people speaking Arabic who were being pulled aside and questioned. I said nothing. Why? Because I would be in trouble with the authorities.
On the plane I was annoyed and concerned that the Jewish gentleman ignored all the rules and no one questioned him. In fact, I was angry he was able to do what he pleased. Why did I keep quiet? I did not want to be accused of antisemitism.
Should I have a situation like that happen again… I will tell the flight attendant I am frightened by the man’s behavior and want to speak to the pilot. Shouldn’t the man be removed from the flight?