Last Sunday three Orthodox Jewish travelers sparked fears on a flight from Mexico City to Los Angeles.
The men were questioned, their bags searched, and it was determined they were not a threat according to the FBI.
“Alaska Airlines embraces the cultural and religious diversity of our passengers and employees. We apologize for the experience these three passengers went through after landing in Los Angeles as well as for any inconvenience to our other customers onboard,” Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said.”
Jews take it well:
“We understand these prayer items may not be familiar. We gave them the suggestions that they do training about it. We had hoped they would include this in their training,” Anti-Defamation League director of civil rights Deborah Lauter said.
She said she is sending a letter to Alaska Airlines again to remind them.
Lauter said there is an onus on both parties in such a situation.
“The safety of passengers is paramount, and in this age of heightened security people are on edge. I think it’s understandable why people would have this reaction. There has to be a give and take too with the passengers. If they weren’t cooperating, that’s a different problem than religious sensitivity,” she said.
“Education is a two way street. We hope airlines will include this training with their staffs,” Lauter said. “It also wouldn’t hurt for passengers who are going to be participating in this ritual to alert the staff ahead of time.”
Others could learn a thing or two:
The Jewish response was a very civil and human response. This is a welcome contrast to typical minority overreactions to misunderstandings.
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Information from the internets was used in this report.