A routine Alaska Airline flight from Mexico City to Los Angeles turned tense when three Mexican nationals, all male, started praying aloud in Hebrew and were wearing leather apparatus’ on their bodies.
The three male passengers, who were later cleared of any wrong doing, were participating in what is believed to be a Orthodox Judaic ‘tefillin’ ritual, shortly after take off.
The tefillin ritual requires participants to tie leather straps and small wooden boxes containing parchment of the Torah on their heads and tie their arms with the same leather straps. The practice of strapping on the leather binders is to be done during prayer.
When the flight attendants observed the men praying and wearing the leather apparatus’ the cockpit was placed on security lockdown for the rest of the flight. The men were observed throughout the flight and were met by FBI, immigration officers and fire trucks upon landing at LAX.
U.S. law enforcement determine the men were not doing anything illegal and allowed them to continue traveling out of the U.S. – their names and final destination was not released.