We have all had this conversation at least once. You know, the one that typically begins, “Do you know what is the safest place to sit on a plane?”

Maybe you were standing endlessly in line to have your bags checked. Perhaps you were sitting in the waiting area with your butt aching, much like the annals of time you lose in a doctor’s office. Regardless your proximity to the actual cockpit, we should all have some decorum if we choose to open our cakehole and ask that ubiquitous question. Why?

Ask Atif Irfan and his bride, Sobia Ibaz.

They had that very conversation as they boarded AirTran Flight 175… at the Reagan National Airport… in full Muslim garb… with the beard, her head scarf and all six members of their family. NOW, imagine sitting on the plane hearing that conversation from them.

9-11-airplaneYou know, forget where they were on the plane. Me thinks there is another reason all hell broke loose during boarding. Just a thought about another plane in September… not fair at all, but certainly true (note the picture).

The worried passengers contacted flight attendants, who contacted Transportation Security Administration officials, and soon, Mr. Irfan and his wife were off the plane and being questioned in the jetway. The six remaining family members in the traveling party were taken off the plane as well, along with a family friend who happened to be on the same flight and who happens to be a lawyer for the Library of Congress.

Next, the nine Muslim passengers — all but one are United States-born American citizens — were taken to a quarantine area in the passenger lounge where they were questioned by F.B.I. agents. Mr. Irfan’s three small nephews were denied access to food in the family’s carry-on luggage.

Now, this just isn’t mindless blogospherical prattling. This story has been reported in CNN and the Washington Post. And why? Not because of what they said, nor how they looked… just the imploding chemical mixture of both.

“To be honest, as a Muslim, we do understand how to deal with this, we realize this is an unfortunate aspect in our lives,” [Mr. Irfan] said by telephone from Orlando. “Whenever we get on a plane, because of the color of our skin, people tend to look at us with a wary eye anyway. Of course it was very embarrassing.”

muslim-irony1To an extent, I disagree. It’s not the color of his skin – that abhorrent distinction has been permanently reserved for African Americans. That, or white folk when they drive inside the hood, thanks largely to a faulty GPS unit.

No, the “wary eyes” come from a horrendous day in America, 12 diabolical and sardonic zealots and their misguided reason for living, and dying.

But dude is not alone…

How long were white Christians lumped in the trash heap with the KKK? How often were black Christians equated to uneducated, slave preachers who speak in tongues? And how long are strident and sacred living Muslims hurled into the maddening stereotype of terrorist en route to his or her 77 virgins with a bomb strapped to their abdomen?

Yep, it’s all a wash and yet, ecumenicism is thriving.

We need a higher calling, a sense of purpose and a direction from God, whatever you call him. I call his son, Daddy. I worship the Lord with all my life, or most of it when I’m being honest. And yet, I am blotted with the same stench-ridden brush that is reserved for televangelists who swindle millions to get a Cessna.

It’s not fair. Not at all, but it goes to show we should be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Such is life for a religious and a spiritual person. And looking like that, talking about that is not that wise nor harmless. But innocent nonetheless.

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