This Thread Shows What Happens If You 'Look Muslim' on a Plane

June 22nd 2017

Ethan Simon

Everyone hates the airport. Stress, frustrating delays, and serpentine security lines all make flying an unpleasant experience. 


But for Muslims in our post-9/11 world, problems at the airport are compounded by racial profiling in the security line and resentment from their fellow passengers.

One Twitter thread showed the reality of what it's like to "look Muslim" on a plane. 

Sikh Man

Simran Jeet Singh, a professor at Trinity University in San Antonio, is a practicing Sikh. While Sikhs are not Muslims—it's a much smaller religion whose followers live mostly in India—they are often mistaken for Muslims and sometimes suffer discrimination for that reason. The confusion is presumably due to the Sikh mandate that men wear turbans and maintain beards, a look that some associate with Islam. Sikhs have been victims of many anti-Muslim hate crimes, such as the tragic Wisconsin shooting at a Sikh temple that left six people dead. 

Singh's illuminates how terrible flying can be for a Muslim passenger—or anyone perceived to be Muslim.



The thread starts off with a series of photos on Snapchat posted by a white traveler on a flight to Indianapolis. It's unclear whether his captions are a poor attempt at humor, or if he's genuinely scared for his safety—but either way, it's offensive and troubling. The man pictured in the photos is, like Singh, a Sikh. 

Singh's response was wise, interesting, and even compassionate towards people who are afraid of him. 













Posted on Thurday, the thread has garnered hundreds of retweets, with many sharing similar experiences.