One of the weird sidebars to the story of the flying imams is the decision of the local chapter of the Jewish Community Relations Counciil to inject itself into the controversy over US Airways’ treatment of the imams. I won’t even try to reconstruct the thinking behind the JCRC statement on the incident; it isn’t worth the effort. The statement has nevertheless provoked some heated opposition in the Jewish community on whose behalf the JCRC purports to speak.
Take my friend Rudy Boschwitz, for example, who represented Minnesota in the United States Senate from 1978-1991. Rudy takes a back seat to no man in sensitivity to discrimination; he is himself a refugee from Nazi Germany. Yet he has no patience for the handwringing that the flying imams have managed to elicit from groups such as the JCRC.
Other than Rep.elect Keith Ellison, who has decried the incident of the flying imams as an example of “flying while Muslim,” I am not aware of any other public figure who has spoken up on the subject. Before the story is frozen into one of ethnic or religious grievance, let Senator Boschwitz’s message to the JCRC — which omits many of the facts supporting the reasonableness of US Airways’ action — stand as a counterweight against the rush to judgment:
This is a poor statement. The JCRC was “troubled” but recognizes the need for security. Which is it? There you are at the gate about to kiss your wife and kids goodbye and the imams begin praying. Would you walk away and let the family go forward? Or would you be much relieved if the airline said: hold on, we ought to check these guys out. Give me a break and not this liberal bullshit.
The airline acted prudently just as it should have.
U.S. Senator (R., MN 1978-91)
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Commission on Human Rights (2005)
What Senator Boschwitz refers to as “the liberal bullshit” continues today with the “pray-in” at National Airport in Washington.
What the heck are they praying for? The Washington Post never does ask or answer the obvious question in the linked story.
UPDATE: Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas has kindly forwarded the JCRC statement on the incident: