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Thursday, June 01, 2006

EYES PREDICT UNIVERSAL DEATH

According to the New York Times:

Azhar Usman, a burly American-born Muslim with a heavy black beard, says he elicits an almost universal reaction when he boards an airplane at any United States airport: conversations stop in midsentence and the look in the eyes of his fellow passengers says, “We’re all going to die!”

I get the same reaction whenever I visit the ABC.

Getting through United States airports and border crossings has grown more difficult for everyone since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. But Muslim Americans say they are having a harder time than most, sometimes facing an intimidating maze of barriers, if not outright discrimination.

English and Australian journalists know the feeling. Get used to living in wartime.

The delays, humiliation and periodic roughing up have prompted some American Muslims to avoid traveling as much as possible.

Same is true—minus the alleged periodic roughing up, which is lamentable—of many non-Muslim Americans.

Many Muslim Americans fault the Department of Homeland Security and its various agencies, chiefly the Transportation Security Administration, as failing to develop an efficient system to screen travelers. In particular, they deplore the lack of a workable means for those on the federal watch list by mistake — or those whose names match that of someone on the list — to get themselves off.

The most efficient system to screen travelers would involve racial profiling. Ain’t gonna happen. By the way, “to get themselves off” shouldn’t have made it past copy editors.

A number of American Muslims similarly upset by how federal agents treated them and their families are seeking relief through the courts. About eight men with Muslim or Arab roots are joining a suit already filed last year by the American Civil Liberties Union ...

Eight men. Coming up on five years since 9/11, only eight men are pursuing legal action over travel issues.

The problem has become such a part of being a Muslim American that some comedians have built routines around it.

That’s how the NYT decides when something qualifies as a problem: comedians build a routine around it. Prepare for a 15-part NYT series on airline food.

Posted by Tim B. on 06/01/2006 at 12:17 PM
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