Imagine peacefully sleeping on an airplane only to be abruptly awoken from your slumber by screaming and shouting — with utterances including “Allahu akbar!” That’s exactly what one man says he experienced on a recent Etihad Airways flight.
Reddit user biff2204 posted that he was flying from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to Manila, Philippines, when he woke up startled to a man “shouting in [his] face.”
The groggy guy was apparently so stunned by what unfolded that he decided to record the spectacle, subsequently posting a clip to YouTube.
“I was alseep at the emergency exit and awoke to this. He had to cover his ears he was shouting so loud,” bigg2204 wrote in a description of the YouTube video. “Just to be clear, I’ve seen plenty of people pray on flights before but never have I witnessed a call to prayer like this.”
In the brief video, a man, presumably a Muslim dressed in traditional garb, can be seen yelling “Allahu Akbar!” among other things:
Some Reddit commenters questioned why an airline would allow screaming aboard one of its planes, regardless of whether it was prayer-related.
“How is this even remotely ok to do on an airplane?,” wrote Decisionator. “Regardless of what you are yelling, I have never seen, or heard of, anyone allowed to scream at the top of their lung without strong rebuke. (Apart from babies).”
Others shared this sentiment, with some simply dismissing the incident as “inconsiderate.” But while biff2204 remained relatively fair about the scenario, he said that it happened twice during the flight and that he had never quite seen anything like it before.
“[We were] going from Abu Dhabi to Manila, so I guess you could argue it’s not that crazy … but I’ve taken this route many times before and have never seen this before,” biff2204 continued. “People pray pretty frequently, but that doesn’t really affect anyone else.”
In 2012, the Economist covered the issue of Islamic prayer on airplanes, noting that Muslims, who pray five times a day at specific times, often encounter logistical issues on long flights, though new apps and technologies have attempted to make in-flight prayer more seamless.
Regardless, this man’s actions raise the issue that the reactions could have led to something bigger.
“Dude is screaming while standing right next to an exit door,” said another Reddit commenter. “I might have overreacted and tackled the man.”
He wasn’t alone: “I think anyone shouting next to an airplane’s exit door is asking to be tackled, Muslim or not.”