With so many people traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, the focus in the news has been the new TSA security procedures. At some airports, full body scanners are being required for everyone and if someone opts out of the scan they are subject to an “enhanced pat down.” Muslim groups are among the many who oppose these new procedures, especially the full body scanners.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a statement saying that if a Muslim, especially a woman wearing the hijab, is selected for secondary screening they have the right to opt out of the body scanner and to be patted down in a private room. The reason Muslims might be more concerned about these procedures is because they are very likely candidates for screening. This stems from the belief that some have that Muslims are the very reason why everyone is being subjected to these invasive procedures. It should be noted that CAIR is not saying that Muslims have the right to any special treatment (nor should they). But I would argue that they are the very group who should be concerned.
First, Muslims should be concerned because it is more likely than not that a Muslim woman, especially, will be selected. Second, Muslims as a group are not responsible for the actions of a few and yet they are continuously being blamed. Third, many groups are against these new measures yet if a Muslim group speaks out about, it is somehow reacted to differently. In other words, it is as if Muslims should not have the right to say their civil liberties are under attack.
I am not saying that Muslims should not be subjected to screening like everyone else, but I do think it is important to listen to their (equally valid) concerns. A change needs to be made in how we try to achieve security and constantly singling out Muslims, explicitly or implicitly, violates not only their individual rights, but goes against the spirit of this country.
What do you think about the new procedures? Do you think the Muslim voice should be considered in this debate? Should Muslims be the targeted subjects of “random” checks? Please share your thoughts below.