[thechat] US criticised over Muslim checks

Hugh Blair hblair at hotfootmail.com
Wed Oct 2 11:15:01 CDT 2002

> -----Original Message-----
> On Behalf Of Syed Zeeshan Haider
>  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/2290602.stm
> What would you call it?
> Security Concerns or Anti-Muslim Hysteria?


Let's analyze some of this article. Of course what
follows is just my opinion:

1 - "Under the new policy, the US Immigration and
Naturalisation[sic] Service (INS) will routinely
fingerprint, photograph and question potential entrants,
checking their pictures and prints against criminal and
terrorist databases.
The policy is aimed at preventing a repeat of the security
lapses which allowed the 11 September hijackers to live
undetected in the US for so long."

The INS and many other agencies screwed up. They didn't
do their job, and they didn't talk to each other. Many
of the 9/11 problems wouldn't have been in the country
if they had closed all their loopholes. This is their
overreaction to their checkered past - but really isn't
that onerous. Someone that is afraid to have their
picture taken and fingerprints checked shouldn't be
let in anyway. I got pulled aside in China and since
I didn't have anything to worry about, I didn't worry
about it. Those with something to fear - should have

2 - "Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad said
the measures represented "anti-Muslim hysteria" in
the US.
Pakistan's foreign ministry spokesman said it was
unfair given his country's support for the US-led
"war on terror".
The Arab-American community in the US has said people
will be targeted on the basis of their race and

This is like branding all Americans as Christians.
The INS is targeting COUNTRIES, not people of any
religious faith. The countries targeted for specific
scrutiny are where most of the problem people have
come from. The US has kept its doors wide open to
peoples of all nationalities for centuries. We're
just putting up a few barriers in hopes that most
people that are against our country don't get in.

3 - "On 16 September, Dr Mahathir's deputy Ahmad
Abdullah Badawi was asked to remove his belt and
shoes at Los Angeles airport before being allowed
to fly on to New York."

Well, big deal. Suck it up and get over it. I've
had that happen to me more than once since 9/11.
If he's offended by that treatment, then just don't
come here. Simple. Sheesh.

4 - "Since the 11 September attacks, many Middle
Eastern and North African visitors to the US have
been taken to one side for questioning.
Now those aged 16 to 45 deemed an "elevated security
risk" will be formally registered by the authorities.
They will then have 30 days to say where they are
living, working or studying."

As well they should. Visiting the US is a privilege,
not a right. If you come here saying that you are
attending school, then do that. Don't try to lie
about it and then disappear into the population.

The INS is just targeting those with a profile
that closely matches those that did us harm. I can't
see anything wrong with that. I matched a profile
of a 'dangerous type' when I entered China, so they
were well within their rights to further investigate
me. It would only have been a problem *if* I had
something to hide.

> -----Original Message-----
> On Behalf Of Drew Shiel

>    This does seem to be well into hysteria territory.
> The fingerprinting and photographing in particular seem
> offensive - checking existing records is one thing, but
> making new records is another. And I would bet large
> amounts of money that the people so recorded have no
> right to know what happens to that information.
>    Enh. Just one more reason for me not to visit the US
> again. Of course, that's probably the reaction they're
> looking for from people from those countries, too.

If having your picture taken (that's no different that
photocopying your passport photo) and fingerprinting
you is offensive, then don't subject yourself to it. If
you have something to hide, this isn't the place for you.

If you have nothing to hide, then why would this offend
you? I just smile and know that whatever record has just
been generated will make it easier for me to get through
the same situation again. My 2nd and 3rd times into China
were a lot smoother. They looked up my record and knew
that I was previously cleared. It's an inconvenience the
first time, and although I don't like being held up, I
just look at it as a small price to pay for clearing my
person into a country.

Oh, and you can always get a copy of your record by
requesting it through a FOIA request.[2] How many other
countries allow that? Hmmm?

All aspects of air travel have become more inconvenient
since 9/11 - and I pay for it weekly, not only with an
increased fee[1] for the increased security, but with
longer lines at airport entrances on every trip. This
inconvenience was forced on me by people from other
countries. I see no problem with inconveniencing them a
little if it can help keep them or their types from
entering the US. Suck up and deal with it. Or don't come.
I don't believe in closed borders, but I *do* believe
in checks and balances. I've been (wrongly) refused
entrance to Canada and that was their right. The US
is about the most open country in the world. But the
times have changed. It's time to be a little picky.

> Not trolling!

Yes you were. I choose to take the bait.


[1] I now pay at least US$5 per ticket for increased
security. That has raised the cost of doing business
and the cost of personal travel.

[2] http://www.ins.usdoj.gov/graphics/aboutins/foia/
FOIA = Freedom of Information Act

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