Middle East studies in the News
Pardon Me if I Don't Worry Over Opened Can of Diet Coke [incl. Yasir Qadhi]
by Stephen Rowland
Have you heard about the "Diet Coke" Muslim gal Tahera Ahmad? Her social media post went viral in which she claimed United Airlines discriminated against her refusing to give her a full, unopened can of Diet Coke.
Wearing her hijab on a flight on United Airlines, she requested a can of Diet Coke. The flight attendant gave her an opened one. She requested an unopened one for "hygienic reasons."
The flight attendant refused, informing her that it was against policy because "they could be used as a weapon." The fellow next to her got his beer can unopened. Tahera posted the account on Facebook through "tears of humiliation from discrimination." American Airlines officials later offered an apology to Tahera, and the flight attendant no longer serves customers. There have been folks advocating a boycott of American Airlines.
Might I suggest that Tahera's "tears of humiliation" claim rings a little hollow to me?
For starters, airlines normally serve carbonated beverages opened because it's cheaper and its free, notwithstanding the dubious "possible weapon" claim by the flight attendant. If you pay for a can of beer, you get it unopened.
Regardless of whether the flight attendant was prejudiced and acting discriminatorily, its the larger context here that bothers me. Christians are being beheaded by ISIS; women and children are being slaughtered by radical Muslims every day with the carnage being reported by mainstream media; our own government is frantically trying to prevent another 9/11 catastrophe; anyone who draws the prophet Muhammad gets death threats — and what we really are upset about is a can of Diet Coke.
Tahera is the Muslim chaplain at Northwestern University in Illinois. Last year she was honored at the White House during the Women's History Month. She was invited to a Ramadan dinner hosted by the President himself, Barack Obama. She has worked with John Kerry in the Faith-Based Community Initiatives part of the State Department. She is well known in the Muslim community. Currently she is the "Director of Interfaith Engagement and Associate Chaplain at Northwestern University."
It was at Northwestern University where Muslim students and friends tried to impose a boycott of Israel — sanctions, divestments, etc. Where was Tahera's "voice of interfaith engagement" on this matter? Curiously silent. Perhaps it is because Tahera has participated in multiple Muslim Brotherhood front groups over the years, and has written about and posed for pictures with radical Imams (investigated by Breitbart News).
It was just a month ago that Tahera posted on Facebook a picture of her standing beside Suhaib Webb — a close confidant of Anwar al Awlaki prior to 9/11 (Al Qaeda mastermind). Tahera frequently invited Yasir Qadhi to speak to the students at Northwestern; Yasir has called for Muslims to wage holy war against non-Muslims on one of his audio tapes and is a Holocaust denier. She joined MPAC (Muslim Public Affairs Council) in 2014 which has argued for Hamas and Hezbollah not to be designated terror organizations and held demonstrations for the annihilation of Israel.
Forget about the mainstream media portrayal of a young, cute, poor little Muslim girl being humiliated on an American Airlines flight. There is more than meets the eye here.
For someone who has suffered genuine humiliation and discrimination, may I suggest Ayaan Hirsi Ali? She was a Muslim girl who suffered the horror of genital mutilation; realized the connection between violence and her Islamic faith; renounced Islam and has became a sought-after public speaker on women's rights and discrimination in Muslim society. She regularly gets death threats. That's genuine discrimination!
Oh, by the way, when Ayaan was being considered for honors at Brandeis University, it was Tahera Ahmad who was actively pushing for a boycott of Ayaan.
We have so much already to worry about in this country regarding terrorism. Recently two young men in Ohio were arrested for plotting jihad. The Cincinnati FBI chief Angela Byers stated that the public seems largely unaware of the seriousness of radicalized Muslims here in the U.S. —- "It seems like once we get one guy, another pops up high on the radar — we just keep moving from one to the next."
Just Tuesday a knife-wielding Usaama Rahim was shot dead by police in Boston; he and his friend David Wright were planning to behead a police officer. Meanwhile, over at the TSA, undercover agents revealed that mock explosives and weapons went undetected 95 percent of the time by airport checkpoint screeners. For a measly 5 percent difference the screeners might as well have slept under their desks.
Forgive me if I'm not upset and worried over a can of Diet Coke. I also suspect Tehera's "tears of humiliation" are related to the crocodile variety.
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