The Logical Outcome of Juan Williams’ Legitimization of Irrational Fears

As Adam Serwer noted, a family apparently dressed in Muslim garb was removed from a plane and questioned by the FBI today.

Some cannot help but think their appearance had something to do with a family’s removal from a plane Tuesday morning at Memphis International Airport.

“My understanding is they were dressed in attire that would indicate some Muslim-type religion,” said airport vice-president Scott Brockman.


“The family was asked to leave the aircraft, which they did peacefully,” said Brockman.  “At that point, the aircraft was inspected and cleared,” he added.

A bomb-sniffing dog and other measures resulted in a two-hour delay.  The family was placed on a later flight following an interview with the FBI.

Thanks to Juan Williams’ legitimization of this kind of irrational response, I guess people dressed in religious garb no longer can pee in crappy airplane bathrooms without expecting to be detained by the FBI.

  1. Arbusto says:

    Perhaps it’s time to brake out our thobe’s and burka’s to travel on the airlines. Thobe’s at least look comfortable, especially when not wearing skives. That’d get our overlord’s knickers in a knot.

    • phred says:

      I love this idea… The more I think about it, maybe I can resolve my own difficulties with the TSA by wearing a burka over latex fat suit (I’m sure Hollywood has gently used ones they would sell for cheap ; )

      I wonder if I can get an anatomically correct fat suit for a hermaphrodite — that oughta really freak out the TSA screeners ; )

  2. Mary says:

    And then, especially with the US depth of experience and knowledge on religion, there are the Jewish Architects with I-pods

    “This man could have garrotted me and what was awful was that one or two of the passengers went up afterwards to thank him,” said Mr Stein. He has since been told by airline staff he was targeted because he was using an iPod, had used the toilet when he got on the plane and that his tan made him appear “Arab”.

    Earlier this month, a plane from London to Washington DC made an emergency landing, escorted by fighters, after passengers alerted crew to the behaviour of a female traveller. It later emerged she had suffered a panic attack. And in August, two innocent Asian students were escorted off a flight from Malaga to Manchester because other passengers thought they were terrorists.

    The guy who assaulted Stein on the airplane gave his name as Michael Wilk and said he was with the NYPD and seemed plugged in with some kind of agency, but

    In a twist to the story, Mr Stein has since discovered that there is only one Michael Wilk on the NYPD’s official register of officers, but the man retired 25 years ago. Officials have told the architect that his assailant may work for another law enforcement agency but have refused to say which one

    Nothing goes better with fear crazed assaults than secrecy. (Is Fox a secret law enforcement agency? /s)

    Then there were the attacks on that Muslim subsect known as Sikhs (/s)

    Obviously, President Obama is going to help dispel this confusion when he visits Amritsar .

    Or not.

    • Watt Childress says:

      Excellent point. Yet in my experience the common denominator for concern is men in suits. Like Juan Williams, for example. Bow ties aren’t necessarily required.

    • phred says:

      LOL — that was inspired Mary : )

      Speaking of inspired, anyone watching the World Series? SF is on fire tonight…

      • bobschacht says:

        Very sloppily played game, but I only saw the last coupla innings.

        Remember a few years ago when the Cardinals won the series with a team nobody thought would go anywhere? They won because their opponents made too many errors.

        Bob in AZ

  3. onitgoes says:

    Bull shite money & time wasting continues apace with the drum-beat of fear mongering and racism by our rightwing corporate Kleptocracy. Good going, Juan the Tool Williams.

  4. eCAHNomics says:

    So, I’m going to admit to irrational fear, overcome. I used to feel uncomfortable on Manhattan subways when there were large A-A teens with low slung pants on the same car. (I’m a short blond senior woman.) One day, I asked myself “why.” I could come up with no rational reason. They’d never done anything bad, not only not to me, but not to anyone else I knew about. So I stopped feeling uncomfortable. And guess what? I mind my own biznez & so do they.

    I was tested on a plane, many years ago, but after 9/11. My son, perhaps a teen at the time, noticed that the passenger boarding ahead of us had a ME passport & noted it & his discomfort to me. The passenger in question was middle aged & dressed in a suit & tie. I told my son to get a life.

    JW is a jerk of the first order & does the U.S. no service.

    • harpie says:


      Naskh, along with Ta’liq, is also famous for giving rise to the Nasta’līq script, the script used for writing Urdu, Persian, Kashmiri, and sometimes Pashto and Uyghur.

      Computers typically use Naskh or a Naskh-like script, for instance: بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم (the bismillah).

  5. Margaret says:

    Some cannot help but think their appearance had something to do with a family’s removal from a plane Tuesday morning at Memphis International Airport.

    Ya think? Really! And as long as the traditional media continue to treat such incidents as “well maybe, maybe not”, there’s no downside for people who profile.

  6. neaguy2010 says:

    This guy has never impressed me as an important thinker, writer, or commentator.

    I have always wondered why he was even on the air or in print.

    Of course, it’s because his thinking is within the bounds of thinkable thought allowed in the mainstream media.

    He’s boring and his thinking is not all that accurate.

    Glen Ford, Margaret Kimberley and Bruce Dixon outshine this guy on every journalist level.

  7. dick c says:

    Given that there was a 2 hour delay, I’m sure some on the flight would have preferred an option to remove the bigot and depart on time. I know I would have.

  8. tremoluxman says:

    And I’m sure this Buffoon would be leading the chorus whining about young Black men being profiled and arrested for ‘driving while Black’. What a slimy weasel.

  9. cregan says:

    That mean old Juan!

    Yes, this is not good, but it happened a lot before Juan Williams ever uttered a word.

    And, we don’t know enough of the facts here as to whether their dress was the ONLY factor or even ANY factor in why they were pulled off the plane. Their names could have been on some list–yeah, maybe a bogus list. Or, some other reason.

    Saying they were taken off solely because of clothing or appearance is jumping to conclusions.

    That is not to discount that if it WERE only appearance that that is not any kind of legitimate reason to delay someone getting on a plane let alone take them off a plane.

  10. gannonguckert says:

    Gee, cregan @17, you mean blogospherians shouldn’t make comments based on news reports? Did you read the story? Maybe comments will/would be different if/when new facts surface, but, in the meantime, why not discuss the subject as known?

    I say, Boycott Delta, and let ’em know about it.

    • Mary says:

      Who knew that guys don’t put the seat back down bc they are worried they might be mistaken for terrorists?

      @17 – Cregan, what do you see as the timeline that puts their removal as being “a lot before” JW “ever uttered a word” ?

      The Sikh and Jewish Architect with Ipod on a plane that I linked were older, but I think this was not?

      And Tucker’s aping of Louis Farrakahn is pretty old too. ;) I admit to playing – but EW was pretty direct.

  11. arcadesproject says:

    Reminds me of that guy in the Hunchback of Notre Dame who kept handing out severe sentences for practically no reason.

    ‘Somne Muslim type religion? Thirty lashes! Sun tan and i-Pod? Ditto!’

    So this is what the end of empire looks like.

  12. maryo2 says:

    Similar, but different, and I do not know the answer.

    I was flying from Orlando to somewhere (probably ATL). A male flight attendant was wearing a charm bracelet with pictures of an important xtian figure on it. (A passenger noted to him how much she liked it, thus calling it to my attention.) Then I noticed that a female flight attendant had a cross on her necklace.

    I felt like it was unprofessional for them to wear antagonistic ornaments on the job – especially on an airplane post 9-11. They can wear what they want when off-duty, but shouldn’t they be more customer-oriented at work? I think legally, the bottom line is that it is up to their employer, and I should file a complaint and then fly a different carrier.

    Okay – blow me away. Figuratively.

  13. behindthefall says:

    What am I going to have to wear to be allowed on a Saudi airline flight? Will I be able to find clothes at a tax-free shop that will get me through the checkpoints onto an Air India flight?

    Delta and TN ought to feel embarassment. “Toilet askew” indeed. (reference to “explanation” in linked article …)

  14. Beerfart Liberal says:

    After 9/11 Muslims and “mulsim looking” people scared me.I didn’t want them around. Didn’t waqnt to be artound them and didn’t trust them. If that makes me a bad person, so be it.

  15. Knut says:

    I guess this means I can’t fly in my bathrobe anymore. Oh well, it was good while it lasted. Like many people outside the US O(even citizens like me), I avoid going there by air unless I have to. In my case it is my 95 year-old mother. Once she’s gone, good-by suckers.

  16. ottogrendel says:

    “My understanding is they were dressed in attire that would indicate some Muslim-type religion,” said airport vice-president Scott Brockman.”

    It would all be so much easier and require so much less guess work for real Americans interested in the very tangible goal of collective safety if those of a Muslim-type religion were made to affix some sort of identifying decal or symbol to their clothes whenever they went about in public.

  17. phred says:

    Askew? How the heck can a built in toilet be askew? I can imagine a poorly mounted seat being askew, but how does that indicate anything amiss? Have these people actually looked at the bathrooms on airplanes? This is baffling.

    BTW, as for Juan Williams, NPR would have been better served to simply state categorically that they have a zero tolerance policy for any on-air personality that displays open bigotry towards any segment of their listenership.

    Juan can be a bigot ’til the cows come home, but NPR is under no obligation to give him a platform to air his bigotry. That is evidently Fox’s job.

  18. ottogrendel says:

    Practical response:

    Whenever we find ourselves at an airport, especially this holiday season, and are perhaps feeling oppressed by the nonsense we are bullied into accepting by the deputized control addicts conducting the security screen that differs only from those conducted in prisons by the lack of a strip search, let’s do something to push back (especially because yelling, “Fuck you!” doesn’t seem to be very productive). If you happen to be wearing Christian-type clothing and notice some folks wearing the Muslim variety—and who are perhaps enduring the silent, racist, fear-addled stares of some of your fellow travelers—stand next to them. Smile at them. Strike up a conversation. You know, show a little solidarity. The control addicts win when they can isolate the out-group.

    • phred says:

      Excellent advice.

      OT, EW thought you might be interested in the electric Audi that set the world record for distance (372 miles; 600 km).

      Now I know what to put on my Christmas wish list ; )