Friday, November 02, 2007

Profiling or Caution?

This story is an interesting case: Six Middle Eastern males, that were flying home from San Diego to Chicago, were detained and question because they were heard speaking Arabic before getting on the plane.
Six men of Iraqi descent who were heading home from doing training for the U.S. military have sued American Airlines, saying employees detained and publicly humiliated them after another passenger voiced suspicions.

The men, who sued in U.S. District Court in Detroit alleging racial discrimination, say airline employees grounded their Aug. 28 flight from San Diego to Chicago and detained them, believing they were security risks.

The men, some of whom are U.S. citizens, were returning to the Detroit area after training Marines at California's Camp Pendleton on Iraqi culture when another passenger expressed concerns to guards partly because she heard the men speaking Arabic.

After taxiing from the gate, pilots returned the plane to the terminal. The six men were segregated and detained while the airline helped more than 100 passengers find hotel rooms, according to a prepared statement from the men.


"They treated me like a terrorist," Al-Watan, 30, said in the statement. "We didn't do anything wrong, but they made everybody scared of us."

Flight 590's crew returned the plane to the gate to resolve potential security problems, airline spokesman Tim Wagner said in a statement.

This case highlights the sticky issue of what is racial profiling and what is the acknowledgment of security concerns.

Let's look at both sides. first the six Iraqis side:
- They work for a company that helps train the US military. And just finished training Marines.
- They are Pro-American
- They are on their way home and were chatting among themselves in their native language, Arabic
- Their plane was returned to the terminal and they were taken aside and questioned
- They feel as if they were specially detained and questioned because they are Middle Eastern males.
Are they right to sue? Were they actually discriminated against?

Now the airline and passenger's side:
- 6 Middle Eastern males are speaking Arabic before getting on the plane
- No one can understand what they are saying
- All past uses of airplanes as terrorist weapons have been by Middle Eastern males
- The airlines has the responsibility to protect their airplane and passengers
- They were not arrested, just taken aside and questioned
Did the airline and airplane crew discriminated against these men? Or did they act out of valid security concerns?

It is a combination of both, but in the end the airlines took the correct actions.
These men were profiled and they were singled out because of their nationality and the language they used. They were detained and questioned, which is not wrong, their rights were not violated. They are suing because they were humiliated, and profiled.

But on the other side, the airlines held up it's responsibility to protect the plane and passengers, because the historical facts show that Middle Eastern men have used planes as terrorist weapons and have killed 3000 people with them. We also have the facts that Islamofascists are still trying to harm innocent Americans anyway they can. Whether it be a car bomb, gun or plane, they are out there trying.

This situation could have been adverted if a little thought by both sides had been used. The Iraqi men should have known that they would cause an uneasiness of the other passengers because they were speaking Arabic. If they had spoken English, other people would know that their conversation was innocent and not to be concerned. If the airlines had questioned them before they boarded the plane, no one would have missed the flight. And if the TSA had Arabic speakers that could listen to the conversation and interpret what was being said, then the issue would have settled beforehand.

Do I believe in profiling - Yes, it can save lives, but in actuality is not being done early enough to prevent the real Islamic Terrorists from acting. I also believe that the TSA and airlines should train their personnel in Muslim culture and languages so they can spot the innocent Middle Eastern male having an innocent conversation in Arabic from the one that is tense and acting as a terrorist would.

But when in doubt, err on the side of caution.

Mr Minority

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