Recently, an Aer Lingus flight leaving Dublin for Berlin forced a passenger to disembark, and reminded me why I am so proud to be Irish.
While I am used to writing stories about Muslims being abused by TSA or removed from flights simply because they look or sound Muslim, this time I get to write a story about an Irish airline standing up for its Muslim passengers.
Aer Lingus removed a passenger from an Oct. 24 flight due to his abusive behavior toward Muslim passengers. Khalid Wafiq Kamel, a fellow Muslim on board, wrote a note of thanks to the captain and crew.
“As a Muslim, I felt safe and respected being in Ireland and on Aer Lingus. As one of the crew said, ‘We are all Equal,'” Kamel said.
Ireland’s history of support for Muslims and people of other nations exemplify how European nations should welcome and treat people of other religions or nationalities. The Irish brand of hospitality is something other nations (*cough* England) can stand to learn from.
While England facilitated and continues to support the Zionist takeover of Palestine, Ireland, herself a victim of English oppression and colonialism, continues to stand by Palestine.
Let’s not forget how England voted to leave the European Union in a referendum fueled largely by anti-refugee xenophobia. Meanwhile, Northern Ireland voted to stay in the European Union.
One Irish citizen, Micheal O’Colean of Belfast, stated in a piece assembled by The Guardian, “And the wars in the Middle East will send even more refugees towards Europe, and those refugees, that were promised a safe heaven, will feel cheated and will suffer prejudice towards them. Soon enough it will be cold war all over again, or maybe even worse, world war three.”
Ireland and Irish people have known their fair share of colonial upheaval, mass emigration, refugee status, and prejudice. When my great great grandmother came to America during the early 20th century, there were still signs in shop windows declaring “NO IRISH.”
While we now accept Irish contributions to the American tapestry, at one point in our history, Irish immigrants, my great great grandmother among them, were reviled for being destitute refugees, for speaking another language (Irish or Gaelic), and for practicing another religion: Catholicism.
Even Protestant Northern Ireland seems to have a fundamental understanding of the need for international cooperation, extending to the treatment of immigrants and refugees.
The actions of the Aer Lingus crew reflects Ireland’s long history of understanding and compassion, much of which stems from the experiences of Irish citizens and emigres.
Once in need of self determination, in need of aid, in need of compassion, Ireland is in a position now to give all of these things to others. Countries, America included, would do well to follow Ireland’s example of acceptance and neighborly goodness.
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should not hurt his neighbor and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should serve his guest generously and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should talk what is good or keep quiet.” -Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Number 158.