The FOX News fear factory keeps endorsing “profiling” as a sensible, small-government alternative to the TSA. It’s a useful narrative: not only does it excuse the idiotic bigotry of stupid expectations and keep unreasoning fear alive, it also lets Juan Williams and Geraldo Rivera point at their own minority status while doing so. It’s another piece of the ‘see? We’re not racists!’ frame conservatives love so desperately.
The problem, as I’ve said before, is that “Muslim” is not an effective description for profiling. So as a public service, I offer this set of photos containing three actual, real, not-imaginary terrorists. Can you spot them all? Let’s hope so, because only one of them has to get past airline security to scare the shit out of everybody!
Answers below the fold…
Of the eight photos, three are of terrorists; but only two are Muslims, and one of them isn’t a terrorist. Top to bottom, left to right:
Sikh man. Sikhs are not Muslims, although they look alike to the untrained eye. Sikhs are also known for carrying tiny daggers as symbols of nonviolence.
George Habash. A Palestinian Christian from the Greek Orthodox tradition, his faction of the PLO was by far the most militant and aggressive — especially with airline hijackings.
Ali Montazeri. A reformist cleric who fell out with Khomeini over human rights issues, he died in 2009 as a virtual prisoner of the Iranian regime.
Carlos the Jackal. A Venezuelan communist and sociopath, his belief-system has been warped for a long time. Since he got caught and sentenced to jail in France, he’s been a Muslim; until then, he was an atheist.
Velupillai Prabhakaran. The leader of the Tamil Tigers, he invented suicide bombing. A lapsed Methodist leading a mostly-Hindu revolutionary movement, his movement began to die after Muslim Tamils defected to the Buddhist Sinhalese government.
Jain man. Jainism is among the world’s most ancient religions. Emphasizing nonviolence and acceptance toward all living beings, members are encouraged to give up meat and abstain from absolutism.
Zabihollah Mahrami. A Baha’i who died in Iran in 2005 after ten years’ imprisonment. Using the naked eye, Iran’s Bahai population is indistinguishable from its Muslims. The chances of a Baha’i wearing a bomb, however, are infinitesimally small.
Zoroastrian man. The ancient religion of pre-Islamic Persia has suffered oppression in its homeland while thriving in the west and India. It has seen a new wave of interest from young Iranians turned off by the orthodoxy of official Shi’a religion.
Of course, this photo-set is also all-male. Given that female suicide bombers have shown up in Jordan, the West Bank, and Iraq, I wouldn’t put it past Al-Qaeda to recruit them for flights to the United States, either — but all I’d need to do is post a pic of Benazir Bhutto’s assassin to make the same point. Or I can do this:
All of those men are terrorists; all of them used bombs. None of them is Muslim.