Air travel is stressful for everyone, but for many Muslims in America, or people who are assumed to be Muslim based on their appearance or attire, it's a potential nightmare. And things have not gotten any better since our President-in-Chief started
his reign of terror trying to ban people from our country for being Muslim. Actually, it seems like it's gotten, inconceivably, worse.
Case in point: Last week, a Sikh man in a turban was photographed on an airplane without his knowledge or consent by a teenager, whose identity has not been revealed due to his age. The teen, who decided the man was a terrorist based purely on his headwear, added a bunch of racist captions about how he "might not make it" to his destination. Etc. Vomit. Etc.
Taking photos of someone while they're asleep is unconscionable. Add bigotry and it's beyond horrific. And yet, sadly also very believable, given our country's history of racism and Islamophobia, heightened by our current administration.
The photos went viral and found their way to Simran Jeet Singh, a professor of religion at Trinity University in Texas, who shared them on Twitter as an example of what it's like for someone who "appears Muslim" to travel by plane in the U.S.
"This series of snaps should give you a sense of what it's like for anyone who appears to be Muslim to travel by plane," he wrote.
Singh, who himself is Sikh, then followed up with a thread about the heartbreaking struggle he faces while traveling as a man who "appears Muslim." It is well worth a read:
Singh told New York Magazine the photos of the sleeping man hit especially close to home for him. "He’s an older man. He’s clearly harmless, and he could very well be my father or my grandfather," he explained. "So that just hits close to home, because if this individual is receiving this kind of messaging from a fellow passenger, it could have been any one of us."