An hour before midnight on Saturday, April 16, as millions of Christians around the world were preparing to celebrate Easter, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Mogadishu), who was not, was on Twitter. She sent around a video captioned “Worshipping Jesus 30,000 Feet In The Air,” showing a young man with a guitar leading what appears to be a Christian singalong on an airplane, although the video has no information about the setting or circumstances. Omar commented: “I think my family and I should have a prayer session next time I am on a plane. How do you think it will end?” Omar was implying, of course, that Muslims in America are subjected to a double standard and are routinely victimized by “Islamophobia.” And so once again the question arises: why does Ilhan Omar have such an active distaste for the country that welcomed her and her family and gave them refuge and where she has experienced so much success and adulation?
What would happen if Ilhan Omar’s family had a prayer session on a plane? Omar is suggesting that it would end with their arrest or at very least their harassment by racist, “Islamophobic” officials who had no problem, because of their “systemic racism,” with a group of Christians singing Christian songs on a flight.
The two scenarios, however, are not equivalent. Since the video Omar tweeted includes no details, it’s not clear whether this flight was filled with people who all belonged to some Christian group, or if an individual or group of Christians simply decided to start singing on the plane. If the latter, that might certainly be annoying to someone who might have hoped to catch a nap or read a bit on the flight, but no one on the plane would have felt in the slightest danger, because happy, singing Christians are not generally associated with acts of violence, for good reason.
If, on the other hand, a group of Muslims began Islamic prayer on a flight, some people might be worried. Ilhan Omar would claim that this was because of their “racism” and “Islamophobia,” but in reality, it’s just a simple recognition of the fact that the record of Muslims on airplanes is not entirely peaceful. Omar would consign to “hatred” what is actually just realistic and justified caution.
For all that, however, the answer to Omar’s question is that, even if some people might be made uncomfortable by Islamic prayer on an airplane, nothing would be likely to happen. I myself once sat on an eight-hour flight next to two Muslims who prayed the whole time, quite openly and un-self-consciously, with Qur’ans open on their laps. They weren’t being as loud as the Christians were in Omar’s video, but they weren’t making any secret of what they were doing, either, and although I was the only one sitting next to them, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who noticed. No one batted an eye. They got no trouble from anyone.
Another time, I was standing at a gate waiting to board a flight when I saw a group of about twenty Muslims, all dressed in Islamic garb, begin prayers at the same gate. When they finished their prayers, they boarded the flight I was on. No one stopped them. No one bothered them. No one said a thing to them about their prayers.
There is no doubt whatsoever that these were not unusual occurrences, for if Muslims ever were stopped from praying on a plane, you can be sure that we would have heard about it from the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and probably from Omar herself.
What Omar doesn’t tell you is that Muslims are not only not the victims of widespread discrimination and harassment in the U.S., but they have received all manner of special accommodations. The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and other public institutions have built special areas for the ablutions before Islamic prayer; there are no publicly-funded holy water fonts or Torah scrolls. It is taken for granted even by influential opinion-makers that it is wrong and offensive to draw Muhammad, in accordance with Sharia blasphemy restrictions. Those who expose the ways in which jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and oppression are excoriated as “Islamophobic” and “extremist” and de-platformed.
But Ilhan Omar is enraged over a little gospel singalong on a plane. She seems so unhappy in the United States. Maybe she should consider returning to her wonderful native land of Somalia, where there is no “Islamophobia.” A paradise indeed.