Man To Be Criminally Charged After Jokingly Says “Allahu Akbar” in Boarding Ryanair Flight

280px-Ryanair.svgI have previously written about the myth created by TSA that jokes at an airport security point about bombs constitute a crime.  In an odd twist, nine men have been thrown off an early-morning Ryanair flight to Madrid after one of them shouted “Allahu Akbar” “as a joke.”  However, the phrase simply means “God is Great.” Nevertheless, the men appear to have thought it was funny to use the phrase associated with terrorist attacks.


The men were leaving Zaventem airport in Brussels at 7am when one of them used the phrase.  The plane was then held for several hours and all the passengers taken off the plane.  All the luggage was taken off as the bomb squad and checked by sniffer dogs.

Now one of the men will be charged with the crime of causing a false bomb scare. However, he never mentioned a bomb and clearly indicated at the time that it was a joke.  Indeed, it would be rather off for a terrorist to scream Allahu Akbar when boarding the plane.

Do you feel that such jokes warrant criminal charges?

54 thoughts on “Man To Be Criminally Charged After Jokingly Says “Allahu Akbar” in Boarding Ryanair Flight”

  1. Allah’s Mention???
    Some Advice for All People
    A Short Poem by Squeeky Fromm

    God is good! God is great!
    But don’t say it at the gate!
    If you plan to fly to Spain,
    For sure don’t say it on the plane!

    Even if a heretic,
    DON’T SAY IT in Arabic!
    Even if it is a schtick,
    They will de-plane you P-D-Quick!

    Better to not mention God,
    Lest you draw the flying squad!
    No matter the jurisdiction,
    Don’t forget this BANediction!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    Notes: For ESL’s and others, “Allah’s Mention” is a pun on the German “alles menchen”, which means “all people.” A “flying squad” is British term meaning, “a division of a police force or other organization that is capable of reaching an incident quickly.” BANediction is a word play on “BENediction”, which is Latin for “Good God!” (bene dicere), or something like that. It is usually said near the end of a service, and Southern Baptists, who like to do things by the numbers, usually say something like,

    The Lord bless you and keep you;

    The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;

    The Lord lift up his countenance[a] upon you and give you peace.

    unless the service is running late, and the Cowboy game is coming on.

    1. Squeek, You continue to grace this blog w/ your witty, non PC, poetry. Thanks much.

  2. Words gestures, flags, symbols on inanimate objects are now consider pretext to crimes of terror.
    And now some guiding words from the Kinks:
    “The Destroyer”

    Met a girl called Lola and I took her back to my place
    Feelin’ guilty, feelin’ scared, hidden cameras everywhere
    Stop! hold on. stay in control
    Girl, I want, you here with me
    But I’m really not as cool as I’d like to be

    ‘Cause there’s a red, under my bed
    And there’s a little yellow man in my head
    And there’s a true, blue, inside of me
    That keeps stoppin’ me, touchin’ ya, watchin’ ya, lovin’ ya
    Paranoia, need destroyer. Paranoia, they destroy ya’
    Well I fell asleep, then I woke feelin’ kinda’ queer
    Lola looked at me and said ooh you look so weird
    She said man, there’s really something wrong with you

    One day you’re gonna’ self-destruct
    You’re up, get down, I’ll come work you out
    You get a good thing goin’ then you blow yourself out
    Silly boy ya’ self-destroyer. Silly boy ya’ self-destroyer
    Silly boy you got so much to live for
    So much to aim for, so much to try for

    You blow it all with, paranoia
    You’re so insecure you, self-destroyer
    paranoia, they destroy ya
    (Here it goes again) paranoia, they destroy ya

    Dr. Dr. help her please I know you’ll understand
    There’s a time device inside of me I’m a self-destructin’ man
    There’s a red, under my bed
    And there’s a little green man in my head
    And said you’re not goin’ crazy, you’re just a bit sad

    ‘Cause there’s a man in ya, knawin’ ya, tearin’ ya, in to to
    Silly boy ya’ self-destroyer. paranoia, they destroy ya’
    Self-destroyer, wreck your health
    Destroy friends, destroy yourself
    The time device of, self-destruction
    Lies, confusion, start eruption
    paranoia, they destroy ya

    (Here’s to paranoia) paranoia, they destroy ya
    (Hey hey, here it goes) paranoia, they destroy ya
    (And it goes like this)
    Paranoia, they destroy ya (and it goes like this)

    More nnocent people die from food illness, auto accidents and bee stings than those that are the victims of some one uttering words on an airplane.
    Never mind.

  3. The story said they were all Belgian but did not state whether any of them were Muslim. If none of them actually spoke Arabic then using that phrase would clearly be intended to get a reaction out of whoever heard it. He got his reaction and is learning it was not a joking matter.

    1. So someone who knowingly gets on the plane with the flu symptoms is not a problem,but someone who says praise the lord in another language is? So should we start screening people for airborne pathogens if they appear to have visible symptoms?
      Who has really won here folks?

        1. The comedian wasn’t in it to win. He just exposed how words can be used as a weapon. Accepting this premise sans actions is a travesty to freedom.
          I wish people would understand statistics a little bit better than those that use trifle outlier gestures to antagonize their victims.
          Wave some words in my face, wave a flag in my face, I will do nothing until you wave a weapon.
          If it’s too late so be it.
          Fear is a meal delivered without substance.

          1. He just exposed how words can be used as a weapon.

            That’s not a new phenomenon. Words have always been used as a weapon if those words have a history of being followed by harmful action. Sans that history, then the words are just words. Just wait til your father gets home is a fairly benign statement, unless of course it implies you’d better hide all the belts. Freedom of speech has a component of responsibility to it. This comedian was irresponsible in understanding the audience he was joking with. Had he said, “I have a bomb in my bag”, the authorities wouldn’t have found the humor in discovering he was a carrying a Gigli DVD.

  4. Radical Islamic terrorists have changed the proverbial, “Yelling fire in a crowded theater” to “Yelling allah akbar in a crowd.” They have weaponized their allegedly most solemn words. “Thanks a lot bin Laden.”

    1. I honestly think art is the true delineator of the religions.
      The idea that only words from one’s holy books are the true arbiter of understanding a theory is both coercive and deceitful.

    1. Suze – maybe that was the plan, they were trying to get thrown off the flight, so they could take another airline.

  5. The assignment of a threat to the criminal courts hinges on the context of the speech. I am not at all familiar with the inner-workings of the Belgian criminal justice system but from the jurisdiction I reside my belief that the alleged act, the topic of this article, could generate probable cause to arrest.

    Looking at the Allahu Akbar vocalization if it was said within the context of a service at a mosque, it of course obviously constitutes an act of free speech expression. However that is not the case here.

    It is widely known the following facts:

    1. Terrorists historically and currently value targeting airports, aircraft, and public areas for terrorism
    2. The people of Europe experience presently many examples of terrorism
    3. Terrorists very frequently yell out Allahu Akbar when committing murderous acts.

    For the argument that Christians will call out “praise the Lord” and not expect fallout it is because Christians are not widely shooting people or blowing them up after saying this chant. Terrorists are.

    The standard here is that an excited shouting “causes reasonable affront or alarm”. Given the heightened sense of security manifest in major airports today, when someone yells out a phrase uttered by terrorists a reasonable person could be alarmed in an aircraft setting. The ensuing police response is the responsibility of the man accused. The police are not in a position to take chances since even if the probability of there being a bomb on board is remote, a catastrophe will ensue if they are wrong. This is not worth the risk.

  6. Such a statement in an airplane is not free speech. Its use can create an adrenaline response rather than thought.

  7. JT said: “Nevertheless, the men appear to have thought it was funny to use the phrase associated with terrorist attacks”.

    NK cult leader, “Great Leader” Kim Jong Un jokes around with H-bombs & ICBMs. Rather than take the U.S. head on in combat, Kim will use the black market & pass an operational nuke to terrorists for use in a suicide attack either in Europe or the Middle East. Free speech…One man gathers what another man spills. I’m just joking.

  8. Just like yelling about fire in a crowded theater, when there is, in fact, no such fire, is not tolerated by society and is deemed a crime worthy of prosecution, due to the panic which it instills and the possible loss of life associated by the reaction to that panic, a sad, pathetic and desperate attempt at claiming that yelling a phrase, associated with the one screamed by terrorists, as they are about to kill or harm infidels, is a joke, doesn’t fly. No pun intended. This wasn’t a house of worship, so no faux whining about it being an innocent religious phrase, shouted from the pews and praising Allah. The actual meaning is irrelevant–the only thing which is relevant is what that phrase, shouted as individuals are boarding a plane, is intended to provoke. In a word, panic. In another word, fear. Unfortunately, the dirtbags, who have succeeded in bringing life, as we used to know it, to a standstill, have a penchant for screaming said phrase as they are about to commit or are in the process of committing any array of monstrosities–shooting up a deli full of customers, decapitating heads of infidels and, yes, flying planes into skyscrapers. Boot the mf offender and/or offenders from the plane and charge him or them out the wazoo. The offender or offenders will learn the true meaning of panic when Bubba, in prison, wants to make one of them his wife.

    1. Actually it means ‘God is Greater’ as in ‘Our God is Greater’ or ‘God (Allah) is greater than yours.’

      Shouting ‘God is Great’ is kind of meaningless when you think about as sign of attack.

      Shouting ‘Our God is Greater’ makes perfect sense in the context of a Muslim attack.

    2. “However, he never mentioned a bomb and clearly indicated at the time that it was a joke.”

      1. Exactly, context, ya’all.
        I have four sons in their twenty’s. I have seen some of them out with their friends say it and everybody around them laughs. I will say though, that on my flight from Atlanta almost all of us were grayhairs, so that might have something to do with the fearful response the young men received.

    1. Paul, you said it, TSA, if the risk assessment is so severe that we have to remove people from airplanes for non specific threat comments, knowing in the background just exactly what current major threat concerns are, is just pure intimidation and we are actually terrorizing our own people and creating fear using their own tax dollars.

  9. I think the result would have been different had the incident occurred in the United States. Not being aware of Belgian law, I don’t feel qualified to comment.

  10. This is not an issue of free speech. For those who maintain that this has anything at all to do with free speech do not understand free speech or freedom, freedom from terrorism.

  11. In these days, this is not a joke. Especially in Europe where a terrorist incident is always just around the corner. Even stupidity can not always be tolerated. They should get an minimum a stiff fine.

  12. What stupidity! They always have to take things ro ridiculous extremes. If someone had said in English, “God is Great” would they have been taken off the plane and the plane searched for bombs? Also why were all nine men taken off the plane. They apparently didn’t say anything. Is it also a crime to accompamy someone who says Allahu Akbar? Is this an extreme form of guilt by association? In a sane world, the man who said it should not be charged with anything either.. This is asinine. I will never fly Ryanair. If they are that stupid about taking people and luggage off a plane and searching for bombs because someone uttered a name, I would not trust then to know how to fly the plane. Stupid is as stupid does. I wouldn’t trust Ryanair security to know how to walk and chew gum. All of the people on the plane should sue Ryanair for the unnecessary disruption of a flight, including the nine men. This kind of rank stupidity makes flying less safe, IMO. If this is how airport and airline security is to be handled, I am very worried about my safety when flying.

  13. Today’s “fire in a crowded theater” scenario and it played out as possibly real. I hate that this is what it has come to in this particular instance.

  14. Is this the new “fire’ in a crowded theater? Not the brightest traveler in the airport.

  15. Not un-like yelling ”hi Jack” to your friend 6 rows back on the plane. Hey it was just a joke!

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