I am a swarthy man with a black beard. I travel with a Qur’an in my luggage, as well as other reading material such as The Battles of the Prophet of Allah by Gulzar Ahmad. I do a great deal of speaking around the country, and therefore a lot of flying. Fairly often I am selected for special screening, or the screeners ask if they can run through my baggage again, or I am delayed in other ways.
Three times last year I was unable to check in electronically, and waited an inordinately long time at the check-in counter while the airline employee checking me in talked in low tones on the phone. Why? The first time this happened, the airline official, staring intently at her computer screen, blurted out, “Oh! You’re on the No-Fly List!” Then, after a great deal of typing, phone talk and staring at the screen, without further explanation or any answer to my incredulous inquiries, I was cleared to fly. Another time the airline employee got on the phone and talked in a very soft voice for a very long time. Straining forward, I made out “No Fly List” mentioned at least twice among the mumbling.
I don’t know anything more about this, but I suspect there is someone named Robert Spencer on the No-Fly List. And this fact seems to have caused me minor delay and inconvenience on several occasions. However, even if it caused me major delay and inconvenience, I would never dream of complaining about it. I would rather that airport personnel be overcautious than unduly careless. I will put up with any inconvenience rather than compromise the legitimate, constitutional anti-terror activities and thereby increase the risk of more attacks.
But here is yet another attempt to shift focus from jihad terrorism to the alleged excesses of the resistance to that terrorism, and to hamstring that resistance. And it is coming from none other than the New Duranty Times, aka the New York Times, which has of course never shown much enthusiasm for the anti-jihad resistance in any case.
The article, “Terror Fears Hamper U.S. Muslims’ Travel,” from today’s New Duranty Times (thanks to Mrs. Obelix), spends a great deal of time detailing the indignities and inconveniences that various Muslims had to suffer while traveling. It says that, predictably, the ACLU is filing suit on behalf of Arab-Americans — a suit which, if successful, will make it even harder for airport security personnel to do anything effective to prevent new jihad hijackings and murders. Then it comes to this:
Most of those wrongly placed on the watch list seethe with frustration and anger, finding it unbelievable that a technologically advanced country like the United States has been unable to develop a list that can distinguish between a lurking terrorist and a harmless citizen with a Muslim name.
The United States can’t do this, and nobody else can either, because Muslims themselves haven’t done it. It is abundantly clear from cases such as that of Maher Hawash and Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar — both of whom were harmless citizens with Muslim names for many years — and dozens of others that there are no trustworthy identifiable signs that distinguish a Muslim who will at some point kill for Allah from one who will not. Self-proclaimed peaceful Muslim groups have done little to eradicate jihadists from their ranks, or to institute programs teaching against the jihad theology and ideology.
Since Muslims themselves cannot make this distinction in an effective enough way to ensure that no jihadists are among American Muslims, why should the American government be expected to make it?
Also, in my travels I have many times boarded airplanes that were also boarded by bearded Muslim men wearing galabiyyas and kufis. I have never seen non-Muslim passengers asking to get off the plane or protesting in any way; nor have I seen these Muslim passengers inconvenienced in any way beyond ordinary screening. Am I saying that the horrors recounted in the Times story are fabricated? No. But I suspect that this harassment is not as widespread as the Times would have us believe.