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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Jew removed from Air Canada flight for praying

In a continuation of the western pattern of looking for things and not for terrorists, Air Canada's commuter line, Air Canada Jazz, removed a Hasidic Jew from a Montreal - New York flight last Friday because he was praying on the plane.

Hat Tip: New York Nana
The airplane was heading toward the runway at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport when eyewitnesses said the Orthodox man began to pray.

"He was clearly a Hasidic Jew," said Yves Faguy, a passenger seated nearby. "He had some sort of cover over his head. He was reading from a book.

"He wasn't exactly praying out loud but he was lurching back and forth," Faguy added.

The action didn't seem to bother anyone, Faguy said, but a flight attendant approached the man and told him his praying was making other passengers nervous.

"The attendant actually recognized out loud that he wasn't a Muslim and that she was sorry for the situation but they had to ask him to leave," Faguy said.

The man, who spoke neither English nor French, was escorted off the airplane.

Air Canada Jazz termed the situation "delicate," but says it received more than one complaint about the man's behaviour.

The crew had to act in the interest of the majority of passengers, said Jazz spokeswoman Manon Stewart.

"The passenger did not speak English or French, so we really had no choice but to return to the gate to secure a translator," she said.

The airline is not saying if the man was told he was not allowed to pray, but a spokesperson said the man was back on board the next flight to New York.

Jewish leaders in Montreal criticized the move as insensitive, saying the flight attendants should have explained to the other passengers that the man was simply praying and doing no harm.

Hasidic Rabbi Ronny Fine said he often prays on airplanes, but typically only gets curious stares.

"If it's something that you're praying in your own seat and not taking over the whole plane, I don't think it should be a problem," said Fine.
I flew Air Canada from Boston to Toronto to Tel Aviv on Sunday and Monday. I led the afternoon prayers near the gate in Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Sunday afternoon, and I prayed both the evening and morning prayers on the flight to Israel (as did many other passengers, although due to space limitations in the Boeing 767, there was no minyan). No one complained.

In the meantime, my nearly 79-year old father was practically strip searched four times in three airports between last Monday and this past Sunday (twice in Boston, once in Baltimore and once in Toronto) because he has a screw in his hip and had toothpaste and deodorant gel in his bag on two occasions. He really must look like a terrorist. /sarcasm

Previously on Israel Matzav: Yesterday's terrorists


At 1:43 AM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

Thanks for the hat tip, Carl.

Your father? Puhleeze. What profile does he fit? Zeide?

I was really surprised, as we have used Air Canada, and never had a bad experience.

BTW, to compensate, they now threw a bratty 6 year off a flight today./


At 1:48 AM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

Whoops. The brat was thrown off the flight Sunday. In this case, I do not blame Air Canada.


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