Great story today on how violating people’s free speech rights has a cost. The story is about an airline passenger forced to cover his T-shirt because of the Arabic writing. This reportedly led to the man receiving $240,000 in compensation.
It’s about time stories of the second-class treatment of Muslims in this country since 9-11 are starting to get wide attention. In the past week alone, this story and one of Muslims forced off a plane for “suspicious” discussions have gained nationwide attention.
My brother-in-law is an Iranian immigrant forced to leave his own country during the Revolution. If he goes back, he faces death. He would never complain about how the U.S. has treated him–quite the contrary, in fact. However, if one travels with him, one notices that this physician must adopt a placating, quiet manner in order not to be seen as a threat. His mere appearance and name already raise suspicion. He can’t talk boisterously like the rest of us can if we would like. That would raise eyebrows. And heaven forbid he have to take a phone call from a relative and speak in Farsi.
As journalists, we should help those who feel the need to be voiceless regain their voices. In doing so, we can remind people that the First Amendment is not just for Christians. It is for all.