In the wake of the botched Christmas Day terror attack, the TSA’s latest decision -- to require mandatory pat-downs of all international passengers from 14 “high-risk” nations -- has intensified the renewed debate over racial and religious profiling. Even before the TSA’s latest move, critics have blasted the government for overreaching, while supporters have hailed stepped-up security efforts:
“They can’t profile based on religion directly so they’re going to do it by proxy, with the circle of ‘countries of interest’ kept as small as possible to minimize the political heat,” writes Allahpundit for conservative water-cooler HotAir. “Nigeria and Lebanon are actually both religiously diverse, but needless to say, it ain’t the threat of Christian bomb plots that landed them on the list.” One country Allahpundit wants added to the list: Venezuela.
“We’d prefer a counterterrorism policy that is more benign and yet arguably more effective – profiling passengers based on behavior,” argues the editorial board of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “That used to be called being vigilant, and adding up clues when suspicions were raised about particular individuals because of what they do and not how they look or what religion they practice.”
“Are Muslim-only lines at airports next? The thought is offensive, disgusting, and blatantly unconstitutional. But it’s hardly far-fetched,” writes author Earl Ofari Hutchinson ahead of the TSA’s pat-down decision for ethnic media site New American Media. In some European countries Muslim men are already subject to defacto racial profiling, while pols in the U.S. have clamored for similar screening practices for years, he points out. Broad-based racial profiling “fuels even greater racial division, fear and hysteria,” Hutchinson writes.