No One Laughed at Qatar Diplomat's Joke
Richard Colvin Reid, commonly known as the shoe bomber, was a British citizen who converted to Islam and joined Al Quaeda. He was convicted by a U.S. federal court of attempting to destroy a commercial aircraft in-flight on December 22, 2001, by detonating explosives hidden in his shoes and is currently serving a life sentence without possibility of parole in a maximum security prison. He is the reason for having to remove ones’ shoes during airport security checks.
That is why it comes as no surprise that no one laughed when Mohammed Al-Madadi, a 27 year old member of the Qatar Embassy staff in Washington, caught while illegally smoking in the bathroom during a jetliner flight, jokingly told air marshals who were alarmed by the smoke emerging from the closed lavatory that he was trying to set his shoes on fire.
Smoking while in flight can cause a deadly explosion and is a federal offense, but the marshals were more concerned
Just smoking while in flight can cause a deadly explosion and is a federal offense.
about terrorism.They detained him and alerted authorities on the ground. Two F-16 fighter jets were scrambled to escort the plane and President Obama was notified.of the incident.
It did not help that Al-Madadi was en route to visit an imprisoned member of al Qaeda. He was flying first class to Denver for a consular visit with jailed al Qaeda member Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri who is imprisoned at the Colorado "Supermax" penitentiary. Al-Marri was arrested shortly after the 9/11 attacks and is believed to have been an al Qaeda sleeper agent.
After questioning, law enforcement and counterterrorism authorities released the diplomat as they felt he posed no terror threat.
Al-Madadi’s macabre sense of humor about the threats that have led to worldwide enhancement of airport security measures is offset by his full diplomatic immunity, so he will not face any charges. Federal officials were quoted by ABC World News as saying that he "absolutely will not be charged with a crime. He has diplomatic immunity. He invoked it."
However, the diplomat is on his way back to Washington today and is expected to be sent out of the country soon, according to a senior U.S. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.