A Sane Voice on Airport Security: Muslim Woman Says “Profile Me!”

November 30, 2010

Asra Nomani, a Muslim woman and author, has written in The Daily Beast (via Hot Air) that we should profile Muslims as part of airport screening for potential terrorists.

Nomani is a refreshingly rational voice in the debate on how to catch terrorists:

As an American Muslim, I’ve come to recognize, sadly, that there is one common denominator defining those who’ve got their eyes trained on U.S. targets: MANY of them are Muslim—like the Somali-born teenager arrested Friday night for a reported plot to detonate a car bomb at a packed Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in downtown Portland, Oregon.

Nomani doesn’t advocate using race and religion as the only factors to consider, but they should be part of the overall strategy to catch terrorists:

I realize that in recent years, profiling has become a dirty word, synonymous with prejudice, racism, and bigotry. But while I believe our risk assessment should not end with religion, race and ethnicity, I believe that it should include these important elements, as part of a “triage” strategy that my debate partner, former CIA case officer Robert Baer, says airports and airliners already do.

Profiling doesn’t have to be about discrimination, persecution, or harassment. As my debating partner, conservative columnist Deroy Murdock put it: “We are not arguing that the TSA should send anyone named Mohammad to be waterboarded somewhere between the first-class lounge and the Pizza Hut.”

Nomani points out that in the 1970s other religious and ethnic groups would have been targets for profiling and today Colombians receive extra scrutiny because of Colombia’s FARC, a terrorist and drug-running organization. She concludes:

As attorney R. Spencer MacDonald put it in an article in the Brigham Young University Journal of Public Law, we can have “rational profiling.”

I know this is an issue of great distress to many people. But I believe that we cannot bury our heads in the sand anymore. We have to choose pragmatism over political correctness, and allow U.S. airports and airlines to do religious and racial profiling.

Read Nomani’s complete column here.

Watch Nomani’s thoughtful approach on how to conduct terrorist threat assessments at airports in the following interview on CNN:

Nomani has previously been a rational Muslim voice in the debate about radical Islam. See Bizarre Double Standard: Condemning Book Burning without Condemning Murderous Islamic Reaction.

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