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Passenger Spews Venom On Muslim Cabin Crew

Posted in Cabin Crew News, Jet AirwaysNo comments

A Jet Airways’ cabin crew member became a victim of hate speech when a passenger enquired about her religion and then unleashed a tirade on how members of her community were responsible for the Mumbai terror attack. No complaint was filed against the passenger.

The incident took place on board the Jet Airways Aurangabad-Mumbai flight 9W-114 on Sunday. “There were about 40 to 50 passengers on board the Boeing 737 and everything was fine till this passenger asked the cabin crew her name when she was serving him,” said a passenger, requesting not to be named. “We heard him ask and found it strange since flight attendants have name tags on their uniform.”

The next question was: Are you Muslim? “She said yes, and this man, who was about 35 years old, started shouting at her,” he recalled. “The man said, `Why the bloody hell are you Muslims doing this to our country?”’

“We could see she was stunned, but she calmly replied, `Sir, this is my country too.’ He shot back, `I don’t think so, because people from your community are behind these attacks.’ She was on the verge of tears, but said bravely, `Sorry Sir, they don’t belong to India. They are not Indians.’ After that she quietly moved away, avoiding further conversation. We could see that she did not go towards the cockpit to complain to the commander about it. It was very embarrassing for the rest of us. We felt like apologising to her, but were too taken aback by the incident,” the passenger recounted.

The Jet Airways spokesperson was not available, despite repeated attempts. The airline industry in India, including Jet Airways, has a multicultural profile with cabin crew members drawn from various communities. “At a time like this, our employers should come forward and ensure us a safe and secure working environment. The attacks were very tragic and the deceased included people from many religions, including Muslims,” said a senior cabin crew member of Air India. “Insensitive passengers should be dealt with strictly. Airlines cannot leave their crew vulnerable to such attacks and should issue clear instructions on how to deal with such passengers.”

Ambarish K Diwanji, an Indian journalist, who was at the receiving end of similar prejudice after the 9/11 attacks in America, recounted his experience. “I don’t remember whether it was a Southwest or a Jetblue flight, but the route was NewYork-Las Vegas-San Franciso. It was December 2001, two months after the Twin Tower bombing. I reached the airport early, before the check-in counter opened, since I knew that being brown-skinned meant that the security check would take longer,” he said. Two men, a white and a black, were ahead of him in the queue. “The white guy made a crack, which I did not quite catch, and so did not react. But I knew it was something nasty because his black companion apologised for him. When my turn came, the lady at the check-in counter asked me about the white guy’s comments and apologised,” he said.

Dewanji says that a short while after he boarded, the commander made an announcement saying there would be a delay because a passenger had to be offloaded for being rude to a co-passenger. “I had no clue what was happening till I saw the same white man being offloaded. He was shouting angrily, saying why can’t an American speak freely in America,” said Diwanji. “I had not complained against him, but apparently the woman at the check-in counter had.”

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