It has been 3 years since we reported about Raed Jarrar. This US citizen passed through security at JFK in 2006, got a secondary security search, and was then apprehended at the gate by an airport cop and a JetBlue employee.
See, Raed committed the “horrible” crime of wearing a T-Shirt with some Arabic words. The words on his shirt did not translate to “terrorist,” nor did they warn people that he was going to hijack their flight. The T-Shirt merely said “we will not be silenced,” in Arabic and English.
JetBlue eventually allowed Raed to board his flight, but not until he agreed to cover up his T-Shirt — and to sit in the back of the plane.
Passengers had reportedly complained to the gate staff that the T-Shirt made them feel uncomfortable, and they compared it to someone walking into a bank with a T-Shirt saying “I am a robber.”
Raed finally got some justice, when the TSA and JetBlue awarded him $240,000 in damages. Raed was assisted in his case by the ACLU.
In a day and age where people get paranoid for all the wrong reasons, I’m hoping this incident reminds everyone that not everyone who looks like a Muslim is a terrorist, and not everything in Arabic is warning of impending doom.
You can read more about the case, including a video clip with more details of the incident on the ACLU web site.