Friday, March 02, 2007

Airport Security Profiling Muslims-Americans?

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has had a spate of letters to the editor recently about the supposed profiling used by the security screeners at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport. (BTW, I am not going to spend an hour linking everything here -- Google or Yahoo can help you if you are inclined to follow up on any of this)

Response letters poured into the AJC after a self-proclaimed "Muslim American" woman wrote an op-ed article complaining that she was selected for closer inspection at the airport because of her head covering. She perceived her treatment as profiling of Muslims. [the title of her letter in the @issue section of the paper was entitled "Muslim Americans are Americans, too" if you want to look it up.]

The AJC printed several response letters. One stated,

I, a 5 foot, 120 pound, 46 year old Caucasion woman, have been selected to be searched three times since Sept. 11 while traveling on business......perhaps Naureen Kamdar should be grateful that her treatment was no different from mine......or maye we should all get angry because 99 percent of terorists are young men from a handful of countries, and everyone not fitting their profile should be left alone...
Another printed response was from a middle-aged woman with artificial knees that routinely cause the airport security alarm to sound. She describes the security procedures she endures each time then says, knee replacement cohorts have never committed any acts of terrorism, yet we are singled out the be 'hounded and humiliated' every time we fly. Naureen Kamdar did not follow instructions so she earned a trip to the high risk box. It had everything to do with her lack of intial cooperation and nothing to do with her head scarf.......If she wants to use her journalism skills to reduce the perceived intolerance toward Muslim Americans, she should exhort her co-religionists to condemn those 'twisted minds' who use Islam as an excuse to kill. It is they who are shaming Islam, and the good people of the faith should not tolerate it.
The words in single quotes above were taken from Ms Kamdar's original op-ed article.

Another letter stated,
The fact that (she) was searched in response to her not something unusual. I travel a lot. I have to go through luggage checks, laptop checks, shoe checks, and sometimes personal body checks weekly. I do not look anything like a Middle Eastern Muslim. I look like a middle-aged, overweight blond business man trying to make a living. When I travel I have one wish, and that is to not be ensnared into someone's so-called martyrdom.
I can say "Amen" to the last statement. I will also add that I had the experience about a year ago of being taken to that "high risk" area, searched thoroughly and made to wait for a female security person who "patted me down." I am a 65-year-old white Christian-American female accompanied by a 65-year-old white Christian-American bald-headed man. I did not feel "hounded and humiliated" by this treatment. I realized that, like Ms Kamdar, the procedure was initiated by something irregular in my passage through the security gate. My irregularity was in my paperwork; hers was in her actions and attitude. I had allowed enough time at the airport that this extra security measure did not cause undue stress; she had "cut it too close" time-wise and lost her perspective. The stress she experienced was the result of her own attitude and the fact that she didn't follow instructions to allow time at the airport before her flight.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

once again american ignorance prevails.... you are all right and she's wrong. don't forget, your ignorance cost you almost $5 at the pumps earlier this year. wake up you fucking robots, wake up.