Germanwings Co-Pilot Has Religion Questioned After Crash

After the Germanwings crash that killed 150 people, many were quick to question Andreas Lubitz’s religion, a question with serious social implications.

Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot who was allegedly deliberate in his actions to crash Lufthansa affiliate Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps and killing all 149 passengers aboard, had reporters seeking a possible religious connection to his actions.

During a press interview regarding the crash of the Germanwings flight, a reporter asked French Prosecutor Brice Robin if there was any religious motivation for Lubitz’s actions. Robin responded at the time that Lubitz’s religion is unknown regarding, “I don’t think that’s where the answer to this lies.”

With the Germanwings crash showing no signs of terrorism, some media critics disapproved of the assumption and question. Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, a Northwestern University associate professor of political science with a courtesy appointment in religious studies, commented, “I find it disturbing and depressing that at a time like this some people feel compelled to search desperately for explanations that presume religious causation.” Other criticism leveled against the reporter’s question note that the crash would only be labelled as terrorism if the pilot were Muslim.

Seeking a religious explanation in plane crashes is not unprecedented. In 1999, a Muslim pilot of a Boeing 767 taking off from New York City on a nonstop flight to Cairo was apparently plunged toward the ground after the pilot disconnected the autopilot and repeated, “I rely on God,” according to the flight recorder data. However, a religious motivation was not ruled into conclusions regarding the Boeing crash. IBT notes several other deliberate plane crashes that were not religiously motivated.

Immediately following the Germanwings crash the co-pilot’s friends reported Lubitz as “burned out” and mentally unstable thus needing six month off during flight training, that Lubitz has a doctor’s note for time off two days before the crash, and that Lubitz may have broken up with his girlfriend shortly before the March 24, 2015 crash. Currently, nothing in the investigation points towards any religious motivation for the co-pilot’s actions. Many weighed in with their opinions on the religious implications surrounding the Germanwings crash.


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