Qatari Diplomat Smokes in Lavatory, Jokes, Causes Air Scare

Mohammed al-Madadi, a diplomat from Qatar, caused a security incident aboard a Washington to Denver flight last night that caused two F-16 fighter jets to escort it to landing.

Qatar  The WaPo reports: "The exact nature of that incident aboard United Flight 663 remained unclear early Thursday. The Washington Post confirmed that the passenger was Mohammed al-Madadi, whom the State Department lists as the third secretary at the Embassy of Qatar (pictured), on M Street NW.

News reports, citing unnamed U.S. officials, said the passenger was trying to sneak a smoke in an onboard bathroom. Air marshals approached him after he exited a lavatory that smelled smoky, officials said.

No explosives were found on the plane nor traces of explosives on the shoes of the passenger, a U.S. official said. Broadcast networks initially reported that, inside the lavatory, the passenger had attempted to ignite explosives, possibly concealed in his shoes.

An official suggested that the disturbance might have resulted from a 'misunderstanding' created by the passenger's response to marshals' questioning. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation."

The Denver Post: "The plane departed Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport for Denver at 5:19 p.m. and was to continue to Las Vegas.
But about 25 minutes outside of Denver, the man emerged from the bathroom and was confronted by the air marshal who thought he could smell smoke in the cabin. The man may have made a joke about his shoes, prompting the marshal to detain him — and the pilots to request an escort to Denver."

The Qatari Embassy put out an ALL CAPS statement on the incident.


  1. says

    maybe we should give him ninety lashes and put him in jail for six months. That’s the punishment one American got for being gay in Qatar. Or maybe the next gay victim who is accused of “homosexual activity” by this brutal, bigoted, anti-gay regime can just say it was a joke.

  2. Roy says

    On WABC Channel 7 in New York, there was a promo for the 11 o’clock news that said, “Was there another shoe bombing attempt on a flight from DC to Denver? We’ll have the story for you at 11!”

    Of course, the answer was NO, but I was appalled by the cheesy fearmongering tactics.

  3. Dean says

    Diplomat or not he should not have been smoking on the plane and should have his visa revoked and returned to his country. Laws are Laws and he should not be treated special in anyway

  4. John says

    “Diplomats” from the Gulf states always behave atrociously. That’s because many of them are not diplomats.

    They are spoiled Arab princes who are sent overseas because they are troublemakers. These are the ones who drink too much alcohol, have too much (sometimes gay) sex, and beat the servants a little too often for comfort. The rulers of these theocratic countries – who need to look all pious in front of their subjects – always send the “problem” relatives to Europe and North America. Where they can run amok with diplomatic immunity and live outside the bounds of both Islam and criminal law.

    When it comes to religious hypocrisy, the Vatican doesn’t exactly have a monopoly.