I see the thread has already disentegrated into a battle of the "Muslims are terrorists" vs. "Muslims are victims" camps, but I'd like to comment on the original topic.
I feel terrible for this family. They were cleared quickly enough to enter the plane, and then made some remarks about where it would be safest to sit, which was overheard by several passengers... and an air marshal. The air marshal reported it to the pilot, who has sole discretion on whether to act or not. He acted.
All 174 passengers were removed, all were subjected to intense interviews, and none of them reached their destination on New Years. All the luggage on the plane was removed and inspected. All of it. The Muslim family rebooked on another airline, and after completing their investigation AirTran issued a public apology and refunded the family's money.
Yes, it was an embarrassment and a terrible inconvenience for everyone on that airplane, particularly the Muslim family. However, no hate or racism was involved. The pilot apparently wanted to err on the side of safety and make certain there weren't groups of passengers planning something that would endanger the plane. There wasn't.
However, if passengers hadn't spoken up when a man repeatedly fiddled with his shoe in flight, another immense tragedy would have been chalked up to the history books.
It's easy to second guess those who have hundreds of lives in their hands, but these are violent, dangerous times. Decisions have to be made, and more thorough investigations are sometimes the prudent way to go. That doesn't mean that these people were hateful or racist; it means that they are extra cautious... because they have been repeatedly given reason to be over the past decades.
I think we're more interesting in dividing into warring debate camps just for the sake of insulting each other than we are in trying to understand the reality of today's volatile situation, and how it affects us all.