Lawyers, Muslim group will defend “John Does”

Muslims offer to help ‘John Does’ sued by imams

Lawyers and a Muslim group say they will defend at no cost airline passengers caught up in a lawsuit between a group of imams and U.S. Airways if the passengers are named as “John Does” and sued for reporting suspicious behavior that got the Muslim clerics booted from a November flight. The six imams are suing the airline, Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission, and the unnamed “John Does” to be named later, for discrimination, saying they were removed from the flight for praying in the airport.

Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a Phoenix-area physician and director of American Islamic Forum for Democracy — a group founded in 2003 to promote moderate Muslim ideas through its Web site ( — told The Washington Times his group will raise money for legal fees for passengers if they are sued by the imams. “It’s so important that America know there are Muslims who understand who the victims are in air travel,” said Dr. Jasser. “But I hope it doesn’t get to that point because the backlash will be even greater when Americans see Islamists trying to punish innocent passengers reporting fears.”

Gerry Nolting, whose Minnesota law firm Faegre & Benson LLP is offering to represent passengers for free, says the judicial system is being “used for intimidation purposes” and that it is “just flat wrong and needs to be strongly, strongly discouraged.” “As a matter of public policy, the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] presently tells traveling passengers to report suspicious behavior as part of its homeland security program,” Mr. Nolting said. “This has nothing to do with race or ethnicity, but trying to intimidate and discourage reporting of suspicious behavior and [also discourage] the promotion of safe travel.”

While noble, leaving defense funds and pro bono lawyers to stand alone against the intimidation tactics of CAIR will only ‘lawyer up’ our airline and national security. What about the dockworker who spots a suspicious container? What about the elderly lady on the train who sees an unattended briefcase? And what about the young couple with a newborn and a neighbor with a license to haul hazardous materials who they hear say, “they ought to blow up DC?”

We need to start by protecting the millions of passengers who fly each day, those who report suspicious activity, and our first responders in the air, the flight crews. Federal law should be enacted that says if someone, acting in good faith, reports or acts upon reports of suspicious behavior or items in airports or aboard a plane, they are not subject to civil liability.

Thousands of lawyers will scream ‘bloody murder’ about such legislation yet thousands of people screamed for real while they were being murdered on 9/11.

Update, 8:40 EDT: Hot Air has more details and video of Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser talking about this today.