While there’s a chance this story is true, I don’t believe it.
A Muslim chaplain and director of interfaith engagement at Northwestern University, Ahmad, 31, was traveling Friday from Chicago to Washington for a conference promoting dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian youth. She was wearing a headscarf, or hijab.
For hygienic reasons, she asked for an unopened can of soda, she said. The flight attendant told her that she could not give her one but then handed an unopened can of beer to a man seated nearby. Ahmad questioned the flight attendant.
“We are unauthorized to give unopened cans to people because they may use it as a weapon on the plane,” she recalled the flight attendant telling her.
When Ahmad told the flight attendant she was being discriminated against, the attendant abruptly opened the beer can.
“It’s so you don’t use it as a weapon,” Ahmad said she was told.
Shocked, Ahmad asked other passengers if they had seen what happened.
A man sitting across the aisle turned to her and yelled, “You Muslim, you need to shut the f— up,” she said.
The man leaned over, looked her in the eyes and said: “Yes, you know you would use it as a weapon. So shut the f— up,” according to Ahmad.
“I felt the hate in his voice and his raging eyes,” Ahmad wrote on Facebook while the plane was still in flight. “I can’t help but cry … because I thought people would defend me and say something. Some people just shook their heads in dismay.”
The entire story is based on Ahmad’s story. There are no corroborating witnesses interviews or confirmation from any other source. Ahmad, herself, is a well-known Muslim activist. How many times have we seen an example of a person making up a fantastical tale of discrimination in order to advance a cause? In particular, the part of the story about the fellow passenger saying those awful things… does that have the ring of truth to you? In this day and age, do you think he would say that without another passenger or the flight attendant making a stink about it?
Like I said, while it could be true, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see this story revealed as a hoax within a week.