When “Iranian” becomes racist short-hand for “terrorist”

According to a CNN iReporter, missing passengers Pouri Nourmohammadi, 18, and elavar Seyed Mohammad Reza, 29 -- the two passengers flying on forged passports -- took this picture with their roommates in Kuala Lumpur moments before boarding MH370. Photo Credit: CNN/iReport
According to a CNN iReporter, missing passengers Pouri Nourmohammadi, 18, and Delavar Seyed Mohammad Reza, 29 — the two passengers flying on forged passports — took this picture with their roommates in Kuala Lumpur moments before boarding MH370. Photo Credit: CNN/iReport

Over the weekend, a Malaysian Air jetliner, MH370,  disappeared somewhere over Southeast Asia, potentially claiming all 239 souls on-board. As search crews continue to scour the area following recent suggestions that the jet mysteriously shifted course near Pulau Perak and started flying on a vector in the opposite direction from Beijing, mainstream news outlets have focused on two non-Asian male passengers who reportedly purchased their tickets using the stolen passports of an Austrian and an Italian citizen.

Over the last few days, mainstream news have tacitly suggested that these two passengers were — by virtue of their forged passports — responsible for the jet’s disappearance. Twitter and other social networking sites have been more explicit, openly theorizing over terrorism.

These theories were whipped into a frenzy yesterday when it was revealed that the two non-Asian passengers flying on forged passports were of Iranian descent.

Because, y’know, “Iranian” is synonymous with “terrorist”.

That’s so racist, yo.

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Malaysian Airlines jet containing 239 passengers and crew missing | #PrayforMH370

Family of a missing passenger is escorted to a waiting area for family in Beijing. (Photo credit: AFP / Mark Ralston)
Family of a missing passenger is escorted to a waiting area for family in Beijing. (Photo credit: AFP / Mark Ralston)

A Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 scheduled for a red-eye flight between Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Beijing, China has disappeared over Southeast Asia. Air traffic controllers lost communication with the airplane soon after its departure from Kuala Lumpur, and reportedly somewhere over Vietnamese airspace. Prior to its disappearance, the flight did not signal any distress or signs of bad weather.

Officials are now scouring area over which Flight MH370 was scheduled to travel, but most reports say they are not optimistic. Reports have come in that search crews have spotted some “rubbish” and liquid in the ocean in the search area, and are investigating to see if this is related to the missing airplane.

CNN reports that if Flight MH370 crashed while claiming all lives on-board, it would be the deadliest airplane accident since November 2001.

Flight MH370 was carrying 227 passengers, reportedly spanning 14 nationalities. 154 of the missing passengers are Chinese or Taiwanese nationals, and 3 Americans were also reportedly on-board. Although passenger manifests also list an Italian and an Austrian passenger, governments of both countries report that the listed passenger is safe and that their passports had been stolen.

The family of Norliakmar Hamid, a missing Malaysian passenger on flight MH370 gather in their family home to await news. (Photo credit: AFP / Mohd Rasfan)
The family of Norliakmar Hamid, a missing Malaysian passenger on flight MH370 gather in their family home to await news. (Photo credit: AFP / Mohd Rasfan)

My thoughts and prayers go out to all the missing passengers and crew. Please stay tuned to this post for updates. Family seeking more information are being asked to call  +603 7884 1234.

(This post is being continuously updated with further developments.)

Continue reading “Malaysian Airlines jet containing 239 passengers and crew missing | #PrayforMH370”