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Profiling is Counterproductive and does not work

Reader comment on item: Time to Profile Airline Passengers?

Submitted by Daniel Dubei (United States), Aug 23, 2006 at 11:38

A quick question for Mr. Pipes. Does he even realize that this foiled attempt in Britain was NOT foiled by any airport security measures? It was not profiling that let British police to the suspects. It is not profiling at airports that led British airport security to these suspects as they were about to board planes. No, these suspects were already infiltrated over one year ago through that good old hard work by individual people.

Does Mr. Pipes even ask himself why Britons have now THREE TIMES attempted to murder their own through home grown terrorism. These Pakistani immigrants were British citizens, supposedly assimilated into British culture. But as we know, it is hard in Britain to assimiliate with the British if you are not British. Does Mr. Pipes ask himself what would happen to American Muslims if they felt the same kind of isolation that British Muslims feel? Does he ask himself why no American Muslim has yet attempted to murder his own?

Airport profiling will 1)not work, and 2) be counterproductive.

1. It will not work. Israel is used as an example of airport profiling that supposedly works. Yeah, and how many Arabs like to go touring Israel on their vacation? Airport profiling for the Israelis works because the number of Muslims that even want to consider visiting Israel is so small, for many reasons, the first and foremost being that Israel's actions, including its profiling at airports, are anti-Muslim, that why would Muslims even think about going to Israel on their vacation? Or even to live there?

Secondly, Richard Reed, the shoe-bomber, got on the airplane anyways, and was stopped by, well individual brave people on board. Nothing at the airport (and he boarded in Britain, mind you) stopped him from getting on his plane.

2. It is counter-productive. I believe that this will only further lead to isolation among Muslims, and lead further to their dislike, and possibly hatred of the West, and their belief that, "hey Osama Bin Laden was right. The West is against us."

There is a reason why Britain has now faced three terrorist attacks from homegrown Briton immigrants of Muslim descent. Muslims in Britain are not assimilating well into British culture, and they are isolated very badly. This leads them to not particularly care about Britons dying for a cause they get swept into. In America, our methods of treating our Muslim immigrants is far more lenient, and hey, guess what, it actually works. American Muslims aren't plotting to kill Americans, and if they are, it isn't airport profiling that is stopping them. Take for example the supposed plot to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago by Miami converts to Islam. Did profiling stop them, or good old fashioned strong intelligence?

Profiling will be a counterproductive measure for the United States to take, and I wish people would stop being so fearful. That's what the profiling policy is driven by: fear. Is that what drives American policies these days? Because it certainly looks like it.

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

"A quick question for Mr. Pipes. Does he even realize that this foiled attempt in Britain was NOT foiled by any airport security measures?"

I specifically call for intelligence-based protection, which is what occurred here.

"Does Mr. Pipes ask himself what would happen to American Muslims if they felt the same kind of isolation that British Muslims feel? Does he ask himself why no American Muslim has yet attempted to murder his own?"

This commentator has fallen for the myth that American Muslims are less prone to terrorism than European ones. I dealt with this at "No American Muslim Terrorists? [A Reply to Spencer Ackerman]."

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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