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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Airline apologizes

Alaska Airlines apologized for misinterpreting the devotional behavior of three Orthodox Jewish men on a flight in March.

The men had strapped on tefillin (black leather bindings and boxes worn on arms and heads during ritual prayer) and were praying in Hebrew, ignoring requests to remain seated during turbulence. After questioning, the men were released with no charges filed. Alaska Airlines promised to incorporate Orthodox Jewish practices into its diversity training.

In another incident, a Muslim woman in a headscarf was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight after staff deemed her suspicious. Crew members thought she said, "It's a go" into her cellphone when she actually said, "I have to go."


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