As if contending with kosher plane food was not bad enough, Orthodox Jews now have something else to contend with on flights.
Nerves have been on edge after the so-called underwear bomber’s attempt to blow up a flight over Detroit in December, adding to an atmosphere of caution that has prevailed since the terror attack of Sept. 11, 2001.
Just before 9 a.m. EST, the crew on a US Airways Express flight–operated by Republic Airways Holdings Inc.’s Chautauqua Airlines and bound from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Louisville, Ky.–decided to land in Philadelphia to address their concerns. J.J. Klaver, a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said the 17-year-old unveiled a phylactery, a leather box worn during certain Jewish services and also known as a tefillin, early in the flight. The teen was accompanied by his 16-year-old sister.
That landing occurred without incident, and all 15 passengers on the plane were “reaccommodated.” The teen was not detained or arrested. Klaver said, “This was just an incident.”
A spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration said the agency was notified about 8:30 a.m. of “a disruptive passenger” before the crew diverted the flight. She also said the plane was swept, but that nothing was found.
Republic had no immediate comment.
I’ve heard of people hijacking a religion, but not religioning a hijack.
Thanks Islamic fundamentalist terrorist dudes for messing things up for the good people out there.
Update: At least awareness of tefillin has increased, with some news sites even devoting entire articles to them.
Update: Watch this police inspector talk about “the device” which is known as an “olfactory” (via Harry on Twitter)