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MONDAY, APRIL 9, 2007
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EDITORIAL

Passengers have right to report suspicions

Maybe the people who voiced suspicions about fellow passengers boarding an airplane in Minneapolis should have just minded their own business.

Six Muslim men were bumped from the flight on Nov. 20 after other passengers observed them praying and chanting in Arabic. Some passengers said the men cursed the United States, spoke of Saddam Hussein, requested seat-belt extenders with heavy buckles and stored them under their seats, moved about and talked with each other while boarding, and sat separately in scattered seats.

The worried passengers surely were thinking about 9/11.

But the six men were clerics returning from a conference, and authorities found no evidence of ill intent after investigating for several hours. Now the six have filed suit — against not just US Airways, but also the complaining passengers.

Holding the passengers liable would be terrible public policy. Air security experts say that one of the best defenses against airline terrorism is vigilant passengers. They must not be scared to speak up.

In doing so, they are minding their own business because their own safety is at risk.

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