Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Praying Football While Muslim

The Associated Press, via the Seattle Post Intelligencer reported today on a strange incident which occurred on September 19. It seems Bush 41 went to see a Giants – New Orleans Saints game in New Jersey as part of a fund-raising event for those who suffered the brunt of Hurricane Katrina.

But Bush didn't go alone. As anyone with a scintilla of common sense knows, wherever Presidents, ex-Presidents, and their families congregate, so does the Secret Service and so does the FBI. What you want to do, should you find yourself in such a situation, is to get as far from the famous personage as possible. That way, you don’t make the protectors of the personages nervous, and they, likewise, leave you in peace. You’ll notice at such events that there are large areas of cleared space around whomever is deemed in need of guarding.

The other thing you avoid, besides the vicinity of said personage, is any behavior that might be deemed suspicious or questionable. Authorities are so paranoid these days you'd think bombs had been going off, or stadiums had been under attack. But paranoia or not, it is always best to err on the side of discretion and attempt to behave as normally as possible. Like, stay in your seat. Watch the game.

These rules were not so clear to the five Muslim men who showed up at the same football game as the former President. It’s terribly gauche for the FBI to take exception to five obviously Arab-appearing men gathered around an air duct, but that’s the FBI for you: not ethnically sensitive in large crowds.

The story is a bit muddled. See if you can figure it out:
     Five Muslim football fans were detained and questioned during a game at Giants Stadium because they were congregating near an air duct on a night former President Bush was in the stadium, the FBI said Wednesday.
Some of the Muslims said they did not know they were in a sensitive area, and they complained that they were subjected to racial profiling while they were praying, as their faith requires five times a day.
At a news conference Wednesday, Shaban [ one of the men] said he and four friends had just gotten to the Sept. 19 New York Giants-New Orleans Saints game when they left their seats to pray. Around halftime, 10 security officers and three state troopers approached the men and told them to come with them, Shaban said.
Here’s what seems strange, though it may be a muddled report rather than a sinister story: These men had just gotten to the game when they left their seats to pray? And then they happened to choose for the site of their prayer an air duct? But it wasn’t until half-time that the men were approached by the FBI…did they stick around the air duct during the whole first half?

When were they “approached” by the FBI? It doesn’t make sense to think that they were merely under surveillance while huddled around an air duct for an hour.

On the other hand, the way the FBI handled the situation when they did approach the men was outstanding. It was done Israeli-style:
     The men were questioned and then were not allowed to return to their seats, but were instead assigned to seats in another section, Shaban said. Three guards stood near them, and escorted them to their cars when they left the stadium.
Turns out they gathered to pray at the main air duct for the stadium. These guys don’t need a lawyer; they need an IQ test.

Meanwhile, the area around the air duct is no longer accessible. Good move, if somewhat slow, on the part of the stadium management.

By the way, how long do you think it will be before the ACLU notices the name of the Louisiana team and starts yammering for legal action to get the New Orleans Saints name changed? Perhaps to something less obviously Christian.

How about the New Orleans Victims?


Always On Watch said...

Praying at the main air duct? Come, now!

Thomas von der Trave said...

How about we change the name of the team to the New Orleans Shuhadaa (Martyrs)?

It would not only be more sensitive to our brethren in the Religion of Peace and Love, but also commemorate all the people of color who died when Bush blew up the levies.