During the September 6 broadcast of KHOW-AM's Caplis & Silverman, co-host Dan Caplis stated: "[I]f I'm sittin' on an airplane and there's somebody who looks like one of the 9-11 hijackers and they are sitting there praying out loud as we taxi, that airline darn well better remove that person."
Before making the comment, Caplis had related a recent story reported on Canadian news outlet CBC News, detailing how a Hasidic Jew was escorted off an Air Canada Jazz flight after audibly praying and "lurching back and forth." Caplis then asked: "Would you fault them for removing a Muslim man who was loudly praying on an airplane as it was taxiing for takeoff?" before answering his own question.
From the September 6 broadcast of Caplis & Silverman:
CAPLIS: Let me throw this story out there first in case anybody wants to call on this: Jewish man removed from airplane for praying. Some fellow passengers say CBC News, that's out of Canada, questioning why an Orthodox Jewish man was removed from an Air Canada Jazz flight in Montreal last week for praying. The man was a passenger on the flight from Montreal to New York City; the airplane was headed toward the runway at Trudeau International Airport when eyewitnesses said the Orthodox man began to pray. He was clearly a Hasidic Jew, said one witness. 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. A flight attendant actually recognized out loud that he wasn't a Muslim and said she was sorry for the situation, but they had to ask him to leave. ... Do you think that was right, but I think it leads to the more pertinent question, which is, Hey, what if it was a Muslim-appearing person, a Muslim sitting on that plane and praying -- an Arab-looking Muslim? Would you at that point fault the crew for removing the man? So both questions -- do you fault them for removing the Jewish man? Would you fault them for removing a Muslim man who was loudly praying on an airplane as it was taxiing for takeoff?
CRAIG SILVERMAN: Now, I think that the flight attendant was unfamiliar with this concept and the problem for this gentleman was he didn't speak English or French -- the two languages spoken on this plane coming out of Canada. And so they didn't know exactly what was going on and out of an abundance of caution, they rolled back so that somebody could communicate with this man and figure it out. I don't fault the airline for doing that and if somebody was, for example, speaking in tongues rather loudly as the plane was going down the taxiway, that too would be cause for concern. It's just a little bit unusual. A lot of people pray on airplanes, especially as they're taking off, but it's probably best to do it in kind of a quiet way.
As for the Muslim individual, I'd put the same test on them; I wouldn't necessarily put another test, although, as we've discussed in the past, I'd do a little more profiling et cetera.
CAPLIS: In terms of this story, listen, if I'm sittin' on an airplane -- and as I've said before, profiling is really unfortunate and it's unfair to everybody who looks like the people who have committed a lot of serious crimes but isn't a criminal -- but if you want to blame somebody for that unfairness, blame the criminals -- the 9-11 hijackers, the London plane-bomber suspects -- don't blame the rest of us who just want to live through a flight. And I got to tell ya, if I'm sittin' on an airplane and there's somebody who looks like one of the 9-11 hijackers and they are sitting there praying out loud as we taxi, that airline darn well better remove that person. And if they don't remove that person, I'm gonna open that emergency door and I'm gonna get my entire family on the wing and off that aircraft. And if you think I'm wrong about that give me a call ... Do you think that's wrong?