Tuesday, August 15, 2006

British Profiling

Filling in for Michelle Malkin, Mary Katharine Ham reports on news that British authorities are to consider profiling in their airport security checks.

THE Government is discussing with airport operators plans to introduce a screening system that allows security staff to focus on those passengers who pose the greatest risk. [Ed- you mean they don't already?]

The passenger-profiling technique involves selecting people who are behaving suspiciously, have an unusual travel pattern or, most controversially, have a certain ethnic or religious background.

Now, to most everybody it seems to make perfect sense to concentrate limited security resources on the most probable threat. We are after all being threatened by Islamic terrorists; terrorists who are known to cry "Allah akbar" before detonating explosive belts or crash their hijacked planes, terrorists who often make videos declaring their martyrhood- does it make any kind of sense at all then to focus attention on Buddhist as much as Muslim travellers? Patently, the answer is no. Does this mean that the authorities think that every Muslim is a potential terrorist? Of course not, but how else are they going to try and deter Muslim terrorists from committing mass murder, if they don't look closely as Muslims in the airports?

Not so long ago the greatest terrorist threat the UK faced came from the IRA. Back then the security at airports focused a great deal of attention on travellers coming to and from Northern Ireland, young Ulster men in particular. I've written before that I was stopped almost every time I travelled for that extra attention. Was it profiling? You bet, and I'm seriously glad that it occurred. What would the point have been of giving little old ladies from Devon the same attention as me?

Right now, the sane and sensible thing to do is to focus security attention on Muslim travellers- because we face a threat from a segment of that group. Surely the rational thing for Muslims to do is to realise that this extra attention might be all that saves them from being murdered by Islamist hijackers or bombers? This profiling might save hundreds or possibly thousands of lives- so why the "outrage" from the Muslim community? Are they opposed to the prevention of mass murder on the grounds that they may be inconvenienced for a few moments?

I don't recall ever hearing any outrage from the Irish community about the extra security that was put in place to combat the IRA (security that included machine gun emplacements on the road to Belfast International airport, along with Army check-points to search your car before you even got close to the terminal). There was no howling about racism or the terrible victimisation we were suffering; it was simply part of the process to prevent mass murder.

If the Irish can be singled out for extra security to stop murderers carrying out their massacres, why can't Muslims?

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