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US: Phylacteries on a plane!

March 15, 2011

SMH.

An orthodox Jewish prayer observance by three passengers aboard an Alaska Airlines flight on Sunday alarmed flight attendants unfamiliar with the ritual, prompting them to lock down the cockpit and issue a security alert, officials said.

Alaska Flight 241 from Mexico City to Los Angeles International Airport landed safety at LAX and was met by fire crews, foam trucks, FBI agents, Transportation Security Administration personnel and police dispatched as a precaution.

The three passengers had startled members of the cabin crew with what what was interpreted as suspicious behavior shortly after takeoff, airline spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said.

“The three passengers were praying aloud in Hebrew and were wearing what appeared to be leather straps on their foreheads and arms,” she said. “This appeared to be a security threat, and the pilots locked down the flight deck and followed standard security procedures.”

Homicidal lunacy, or religious observance? Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

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