A fascinating story via Dogfight at Bankstown through Pharyngula about the terror a woman felt when travelling on a US domestic flight with fourteen Syrian musicians. These musicians were a scary lot, one had a orthopedic shoe and another was carrying a McDonalds bag, and they made frequent trips to the toilet.
This xenophobia shown towards arabic people has become commonplace since 911 as can be seen in the following extract from a report on discrimination against Arab Americans:
A disturbing pattern emerged in the months following September 11 as airline crews and security began to remove passengers of Middle Eastern ethnicity and other people of color from their flights after boarding but before take-off, because some members of the crew or another passenger felt “uncomfortable” with them on board. Once back in the jetway or gate area, security typically would inform the passenger that, “the crew does not feel safe with you onboard,” the only articulated reason for the removal being a “feeling” of discomfort on the part of someone else on the plane. In most cases, this discomfort was attributed to the passenger’s name or perceived ethnicity, since all passengers had, before boarding, successfully passed through at least three levels of security including the Computer Assisted Passenger Screening System (CAPSS) and the FBI watch list .
pp16-17 Report on Hate Crimes and Discrimination against Arab Americans: The post - September 11 Backlash
September 11, 2001 - October 11, 2002
Also a story about a cynical ad run by the Bush campaign that exploits the fear of Arabs (near airports).