According to the Times Online:
THE [UK] Government is discussing with airport operators plans to introduce a screening system that allows security staff to focus on those passengers who pose the greatest risk.
The passenger-profiling technique involves selecting people who are behaving suspiciously, have an unusual travel pattern or, most controversially, have a certain ethnic or religious background.
The system would be much more sophisticated than simply picking out young men of Asian appearance. But it would cause outrage in the Muslim community because its members would be far more likely to be selected for extra checks.
Seems to make sense to me – check in more detail the people who appear to be the higher risk. And who could argue most potential bombers aren’t Muslims?
There is a contrary position:
Three days before last week’s arrests, the highest-ranking Muslim police officer in Britain gave warning that profiling techniques based on physical appearance were already causing anger and mistrust among young Muslims. Tarique Ghaffur, an assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said: “We must think long and hard about the causal factors of anger and resentment.
That may be true, but in my opinion, limited resources should be focused on where the problem is more likely to lie. However, simply choosing people based on physical appearance would be problematic because appearance is relatively easy to change. Plus, not all Muslims are of the same stereotypical appearance. But that doesn’t appear to be what they are proposing:
Sir Rod Eddington, former chief executive of British Airways, criticised the random nature of security searches. He said that it was irrational to subject a 75-year-old grandmother to the same checks as a 25-year-old man who had just paid for his ticket with cash.
Philip Baum, an aviation security consultant, said that profiling should focus on ruling out people who obviously posed no risk rather than picking out Asian or Arabs.
Precisely. Subjecting everyone to the same level of security, the same probability of a detailed search, is idiocy in the name of political correctness. But would this new policy cause anger and mistrust among young Muslims in excess of any benefits obtained? Please discuss.