A Philly pizza shop owner, Maher Khalil, who emigrated to the U.S. from Palestine 14 years ago, was stopped from boarding a flight from Chicago because one passenger saw him talking to a friend in Arabic, and felt "uncomfortable."
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Khalil and his friend were later allowed to board the plane. But passengers again had their security threatened by the two unarmed men. They pointed to the suspicious white box in Khalil’s hand, and rudely asked to see what was inside.
Khalil removed the lid to reveal baklava, a heavenly Arabic delight, and even shared the sweets with the passengers.
Speaking of the humiliating string of incidents, Khalil said, "I swear, I never had that feeling before. I felt like we're not safe no more in this country. Because I'm Arab, I cannot ride the airplane? The person who complained is the one who should be kicked out, not me."
Earlier that day, four passengers were removed from Spirit Airlines flight 969 scheduled to leave Baltimore-Washington International Airport for Chicago O’Hare International.
The plane was taxiing for departure when a female passenger saw another who appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent watching the news on his phone.
Just because one person felt "suspicious," the plane returned to the gate and law enforcement officers removed four passengers from the plane for questioning, deplaning them for a brief time.
In an atmosphere of fear, people need to realize that camaraderie with xenophobia does no good. Hate breeds hate and violence spawns violence.
And that's exactly what terrorists want.