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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Qatari princesses tossed off British Airways flight

London's Daily Mail is reporting that three Qatari princesses were tossed off a packed British Airways flight in Milan on Thursday - to the cheers of fellow passengers - for refusing to sit next to males whom they did not know.
The dispute - in which the three princesses from the ultra-conservative Qatar royal family demanded segregated seating - left the London-bound plane delayed on a baking Italian runway for nearly three hours.

Furious passengers whistled and clapped as the row intensified before the captain eventually ordered the women to be escorted off the plane.

The princesses, wearing traditional Arab dress, were returning from a day's shopping in Milan. They arrived at the city's Linate airport and boarded Heathrow-bound flight BA 563, which was due to take off at 4pm on Thursday.

The women, all relatives of the oil-rich emir of Qatar, Bader Bin Khalifa Al Thani, were booked into business class in a party of eight which included the emir and an entourage of cooks, servants and other staff.

After passengers had fastened their seat-belts and the plane had taxied on to the runway, two male passengers in the entourage got up to protest about where the women were sitting.

According to the customs of Qatar and other Gulf states, women are not allowed to mix with men who are not relatives.

Cabin crew tried to rearrange the seats but passengers travelling together refused to give up their allotted places. The captain tried to mediate but after more than two and a half hours of wrangling he ordered the bulk of their royal party off the plane.

It is understood that five of the eight - including the princesses and the men who left their seats to protest - were removed.

Police and diplomats from the Qatar consulate in Milan were also called in before the plane eventually took off. The rest of the Qatar party left Milan later on an Alitalia flight.
I have to tell you that many Orthodox Jews also refuse to sit next to women who are not related to them, and certainly not to sit between two women who are not related to them (which would not be an issue in business class on most planes. But if Orthodox Jews cannot work out switching seats with other passengers, they will sit as placed. I've never heard of Orthodox Jews holding up a plane like that, and if God forbid they did, it would be considered a desecration of God's name by most of us.

It's incredible to hear that it took this long to throw these 'princesses' off the plane. But then, it's a Muslim thing to expect the world to bend its standards to accommodate the 'religion of peace.' Jews would never have such expectations.


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