PHILADELPHIA: While flying to Kentucky to visit his grandmother, a teenager began the morning prayer ritual expected of Orthodox Jewish men by strapping small leather boxes to his forehead and arm. But to an attendant on US Airways Express Flight 3079, the sight of a young man attaching what looked like black cubes and wires to his body was so alarming that she alerted the pilot.
The boxes, called tefillin, held only prayers, but the Louisville-bound plane was diverted nonetheless to Philadelphia International Airport.
Tefillin are ''something that the average person is not going to see very often, if ever'', an FBI spokesman, J.J. Klaver, said.
Leaders of several Jewish organisations said the airline had acted appropriately in view of renewed anxiety over terrorism.
''In a period of heightened tension, there's going to be overreaction,'' said Marc Stern, co-executive director of the American Jewish Congress in Washington. ''I don't see anything anti-Semitic in this.''
Federal and city law enforcement officials briefly questioned 17-year-old Caleb Leibowitz and his 16-year-old sister, high school students from White Plains, New York, before allowing them to resume their flight.
|Your name: *|
|Your email: *|
|Recepient's email: *|
|Enter code: *|