Religious Profiling

Bill O’Reilly weighs in on the recent alleged terrorist plot to blow up several inter-continental flights and, as would be expected, he makes a typically erudite argument [watch the video: Broadband or Dial-Up]

Now it’s long past time for the USA to stop the nonsense and institute profiling at airports. We’re not at war with Granny Frickett. We’re at war with Muslim fanatics.

So all young Muslims should be subjected to more scrutiny than Granny. And we should blend some Israeli screening procedures with our own.

For example, trained security people should receive the passenger list on every flight and interview those people most likely to be terrorists, folks who have traveled to Muslim countries, people who have criminal records. Passengers who are Muslims ages 16 to 45 all should be spoken with. And if the ACLU doesn’t like it, tough. This isn’t racial profiling. This is criminal profiling.

Well, President Bush has traveled to a Muslim country and has a criminal record, so he apparently qualifies for extra screening.  

In addition to the President, O’Reilly also wants all Muslims ages 16 to 45 to receive additional scrutiny and correctly notes that such scrutiny isn’t “racial profiling” – it’s “religious profiling.”  Of course, it’s not clear how screeners would identify passengers’ religion, though O’Reilly seems to presume that anyone who appears to be of Arab descent is Muslim and vice-versa.

Assuming that individuals of a specific race or religion are more likely to be criminals or terrorists, which is what O’Reilly is espousing, is – by definition – both racial and religious profiling.  

Calling it “criminal profiling” doesn’t change that fact.