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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Flying Imams: This Ought To Be A Circus Act

And they would most definitely be in the center ring. Kathryn Kersten of the Strib says there is a method to this madness, and it is going to irk a good deal of Americans.

Hat-Tip: Captain Ed

Bray's initial statement about the incident had an all-American, see-you-in-court ring. He demanded "large financial compensation for the imams," adding, "We want US Airways and any other airline displaying this type of behavior against Muslims to be hit where it hurts, the pocketbook."

The report echoed statements made by the imams themselves. Omar Shahin, their spokesman, has portrayed the incident in a way that's consistent with a lawsuit and a public relations offensive. He's called for a Jesse Jackson-style boycott of US Airways, and applied classic civil-rights rhetoric to the incident: "This is prejudice; this is obvious discrimination," the Star Tribune quoted him as saying. "I cannot change the color of my skin," he told Newsweek.

But the report on the Iranian website, which has appeared on a variety of Muslim websites worldwide, had a larger primary focus. After the imams incident, it quoted Bray as saying Muslims want "new, broad-sweeping legislation that will extract even larger financial and civil penalties for any airline that participates in racial and religious profiling."

The report is optimistic that Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, will lend his support to new legislation. Ellison, it says, has expressed his opposition to "such racial and religious profiling." Ellison, through a spokesman, declined to comment.

One piece of legislation in the works is the End Racial Profiling Act. It is an important priority of Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, whose district includes one of the largest Muslim populations in the country. Conyers introduced the bill in 2004 and 2005, but it went nowhere. Now the alignment of forces may be changing. Conyers will probably be chairman of the House Judiciary Committee when the new Democratic-controlled Congress convenes next month. ...

... The act, although it doesn't as yet impose large penalties, would bar any federal, state or local law enforcement agency from "relying, to any degree, on race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion in selecting which individuals to subject to routine or spontaneous investigatory activities." That would include questioning, searches and seizures.

One of the act's central features is its definition of illegal profiling. Under it, if airport security personnel question passengers who are disproportionately Muslim or of Middle Eastern descent, this alone would constitute a presumptive violation of the law. Law enforcement agencies would bear the burden of proving that discrimination was not the cause.

What would the effect of such a law be?

"A law that would compel security professionals to focus on keeping their statistics within certain norms rather than on their mission keeping airline travel safe would have a devastating effect on our ability to ensure airline safety," said Daniel Horan of the Los Angeles Police Department in an interview. He worked at the Los Angeles airport on profiling-related issues for 6 years.

In the past few weeks the public relations campaign for the Profiling Act has moved into high gear. On Tuesday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations advised American Muslims to beware of the dangers of "flying while Muslim." In light of recent allegations of "airport profiling," it said, the council has set up a toll-free hotline for pilgrims traveling to Mecca for the hajj, or annual pilgrimage, who believe that their rights have been violated.

The End of Racial Profiling Act has languished until now. What did it need to reinvigorate it? New congressional leadership, and that's coming in January. But it needed something else in this media age: a high-profile incident to jump-start it.

What better than the media circus at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Nov. 20?

Now, would anyone like to argue that this whole mess does not reek of a put-up job? The six imams in question attended a conference in Minneapolis where Keith Ellison was a keynote speaker. In his speech, this subject was brought up, and then they pull their stunt. This stinks, ladies and gentlemen. And what is worse is that these people seem to have no guilt in tying the hands of our law enforcement personnel who are just trying to do their jobs.

There is a significant difference between security and law enforcement people indiscriminately targeting Muslim passengers on a plane and noting seriously suspicious activity, and taking action. The Pajamas Media report from Richard Miniter gives us details the press never released about their behavior on the flight. Sabrina did a superb job disseminating the police report about this incident. And bloggers from around the 'sphere watched this unfold, and have continued to watch as things get wackier over this incident.

So, what to do? What to do? Captain Ed adds a teeny bit of insight into the bill that no one has apparently heard of until now:

Have you heard of the End Racial Profiling Act? I had not until now, and that seems to have been the problem The bill has been introduced in both the House and the Senate (by Russ Feingold) and goes back to before the 9/11 attacks. ERPA has gone nowhere since then, languishing on the fringes of politics. In order to get it into the center of debate, its backers needed a high-profile incident.

Enter the Flying Imams. It seemed suspicious to many that this incident took place at the end of a Muslim political action conference here in Minneapolis. The incident seemed too pat, too much of a set-up to just be a coincidence. No one has a transcript of the conference, but one might speculate that such a conference might have ERPA on its agenda. Given CAIR's
support of ERPA and their involvement in this case, it seems more than just speculation that the deliberate provocation had this in mind.

The text of the bill can be found here.

There is not one, single, intellectually-honest person we know of that believes that racial profiling works. However, the question is this: When does it cease to be racially-profiling, and become a suspect profile? The imams in questio exhibited suspicious behavior that unsettled the passengers on the plane. Not only did their praying disturb those passengers waiting for the jet to connect to the jey-way, but their behavior on board the plane only heightened an already anxious group of passengers. There was no reason that these people should not have been removed fromt he plane and checked out. And as Michelle Malkin has noted in several posts ...

Ululations of the aggrieved
Grievance-mongering at the gym
Flight Club: Rules of the flying imams
PJM exclusive: Flying imams police report
Standing up to the flying imams
Flying imam alertFlying imams, leaping CAIR

... this three-ring circus just keeps getting nuttier. But now, based on this report from Captain Ed, the pieces are starting to fall into place. Am I saying that there is some sort of conspiracy going on here? Not at all, but anyone with a brain, and has been following this story, has to admit that something seems fishy about this. And with this legislation due to hit the Congress in this session, it has to make people wonder which side of this war our elected representatives are sitting on?

If Muslims, in general, are not to be suspected of anything, it makes it much easier for our enemy to move around, and ultimately pull off another attack. And when that happens, who will catch the blame. It will not be the senators and representatives patting themselves on the back for being sensitive. It will be the administration. When the hands of the people sworn to protect us are tied by idiotic legislation like this, bad things are bound to happen. And, if this is the case--that they do not want law enforcement and security looking at Muslims--then this will fall to the people to be vigilant. Just like they were on that flight.



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