Hospitality vs. TSA

Don’t you hate being stuck in the airport? I sure do. Layovers are the worst. There’s something about overpriced food, constant announcements, weak wi-fi connections, and humanity’s universal inability to understand the etiquette of the moving sidewalk that is maddening. 

Most of us can relate to the frustrations of a 10-hour layover, but few know what it’s like to be held at the airport against their will. This afternoon I got a call about a Muslim friend who was detained at the airport for over 10 hours. Sadly, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard about things like this from my Muslim friends.

Since airport security has been compromised before, I suppose I understand why the TSA has to be careful. To some degree it’s necessary, but they often go overboard. I hate the fact that my friends get treated like that.

Imagine if you were in a foreign country. Speaking the language and navigating the complicated layout of the airport is challenging enough. Then imagine if you were taken into custody by security and grilled with questions for hours upon hours. You might start to feel like you don’t belong in the country. You might start to feel like you are not welcome. 

Honestly, I have no idea how to change things at the airport. But I’m certain that extending love and hospitality to our Muslim neighbors can speak louder than the message sent by the TSA. The American experience should include being captivated by conversations with friends rather than being held captive by strangers. Maybe we can’t change TSA policies, but we can put on a pot of coffee.