Effort to name those who reported suspicious actions has chilling effect.
"If you see something, say something."
Since the terror attacks of 9/11, that common-sense message has been displayed prominently worldwide for obvious reasons.
Police and transportation authorities can't be everywhere. Whether at an airport, bus or rail station, officials need passengers to alert them to unattended baggage that might contain explosives and behavior that appears out of the ordinary.
Now the reward for being vigilant apparently includes being dragged into a lawsuit and accused of bigotry. The wry adage about how no good deed goes unpunished seems apt, though not so funny.
The imams' actions last November appeared to be either deliberately provocative or clueless as to how others might perceive them.
Under the circumstances, the pilot made a reasonable judgment call to remove them from the plane. Some of the facts are in dispute: The imams deny making any anti-American remarks and say seats were changed to accommodate a blind cleric who might need assistance. They accuse the airline of slandering them.