Some more details have emerged about Rageit al-Murisi, the man who rushed the cockpit of American Airlines Flight 1561 as it made its approach to San Francisco International Airport. He was subdued by flight attendants and passengers, allowing the plane to land safely.
According to an Associated Press report, al-Murisi has “no clear or known ties to terrorism,” and was carrying both a Yemeni passport and a California ID card. The report describes him as a resident of Vallejo, California. Flight 1561 was on its way to San Francisco from Chicago. Authorities have not said whether he was on his way back from a visit to Yemen, as the passport in his pocket would suggest.
CNN quotes a “law enforcement source” who claims al-Murisi “appears to have mental issues.” His cousin described him to ABC News as “an educated, easygoing person” who nevertheless “might have seriously mistaken the cockpit for the bathroom” because he’s “only been on three planes in his whole life.”
Far down into the Associated Press and ABC News reports, we learn something that most other media accounts, including CNN, don’t mention at all: according to another passenger, “the wife of one of the men who took Almurisi down later said Almurisi was yelling Allahu Akbar.” That translates to “God is Great,” and is now well-known as the favorite battle cry of jihadists. It is not commonly shouted by people desperate to use the bathroom.
That doesn’t mean al-Murisi wasn’t just a mentally disturbed loner who chose to scream “Allahu Akbar!” as he was pounding on the cockpit door. It’s interesting how little play this detail has gotten, though. It must be something the media gatekeepers don’t want us to dwell on. I wonder what we’ll learn when the rest of al-Murisi’s “unintelligible shouting” is translated, and if that translation will ever be reported to the public.