Religious profiling at work
Jihadists terrorists cause great inconvenience and discomfort to Muslim travellers because the latter too are tarred by the same brush. And sadly as this BBC article (http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33677946) showed, a widely used major data base had serious flaws.
The following was shared widely on Facebook:
First time you’re presenting at a conference?
Me: No, but it’s the first time i’m being checked like this even after telling immigration i have a conference.
Him: Are you nervous?
Me: No, i’m disappointed.
Him: Why? I’m just doing my job.
Me: You didn’t check anyone else, so please don’t tell me this is random.
Him: You can have your passport back.
Me: Can i ask why it took so long?
*directs to another guy*
Other officer: Err, we had another name like yours, with same surname too.
Me: From Singapore? I can guarantee you there is none.
We both know why it was only me who had to go through this, and no one else. Let’s not pretend.
The reality is Muslims are the biggest victims of terrorism, whether directly or otherwise.
The above received this comment
Happens to me as well when I was going to Boston.. they hold me in the holding room and their reason for holding me – there is 13 people on the terrorist list with my exact name… I ask them – are they from Singapore… they didn’t answer… sigh… best part when they finally let me off after about 8 hours of holding me, one of the custom ask me to change my name!!
New York remains one of the world’s best-prepared cities for a terrorist attack. Since 2001 the police department has ramped up its counter-terrorism activities. It has built up its own intelligence-gathering department by hiring native speakers of Dari, Urdu, Pashto and Arabic.
(Sorry can’t remember where I took this from)
In Australia, if you have a Muslim name, don’t bother going through the self-help biometric scanning machine. You will get a message directing you to a manual clearance counter. Recently when I was leaving Sydney, I was directed to use the machine, even though I wanted a manual clearance. I told the officer that it will be pointless as I have a Muslim name. He was clearly uncomfortable with my statement and true enough, the process failed and I had to go through manual clearance. What irks me is these Islamophobic officers dare not call a spade a spade. They shy away from telling you straight in the face that “yes, you are being discriminated because you are a Muslim”.
But the attack against the officer is unfounded. If he had agreed to screen her, it might be taken by human rights activists that the machines discriminated against Muslims. They’d sue.
Muslims travellers just have to accept that their fellow coreligionists are more to blame for their inconvenience and discomfort than govts who simply want to prevent murders and mayhem by violent people who just happen to be Muslims.