Here is a story that ran as NEWS on the Yahoo political news feed: (Please pay attention to the parts I bold-faced)
CAIR: Muslim Group Updates Travel Advisory for Holiday Weekend
WASHINGTON, Nov. 24, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today issued an updated travel advisory for those concerned about new airport security measures involving full-body scanners and more invasive pat-downs.
Background: Earlier this year, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began phasing in full-body Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) scanners in airports as a primary screening method. In February, CAIR supported a statement by a prominent group of Muslim scholars that the full-body scanners violate religious and privacy rights. On November 11, CAIR issued a travel advisory that was distorted by Islamophobes who falsely claimed the advisory said there was a special TSA exemption for Muslim passengers who wear Islamic head scarves (hijab). In fact, the CAIR advisory was based on TSA guidelines for all passengers, regardless of faith.
* If you wear the Islamic head scarf and you are selected for secondary screening, ask the TSA officer if the reason you are being selected for secondary is because of your head scarf. If the officer confirms you were referred to secondary because of your head scarf, before you are patted down, you should remind the TSA officer, who should be of the same gender, that they are only supposed to pat down the area in question, in this scenario, your head and neck. They should not subject you to a full-body or partial-body pat-down. You can always request to pat down your own scarf, including head and neck area, and have the officer perform a residue swab of your hands.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
The airport body scan/invasive pat-down issue is outrageous to begin with, but this article (and the position it advocates) is the icing on the cake:
1. This is a press release by CAIR, and the person who wrote it editorializes throughout. That's not reporting !! The travel advisory was "distorted by Islamophobes"? How so? There is no evidence anywhere that the advisory was misrepresented by these so-called islamophobes....only that the advisory, and Janet Napolitano's statement that she was considering it, was made public and a lot of people found it rather counterintuitive, to say the least. While Muslims are not "exempt", they do, under this advisory statement, have a special status that does mitigates the invasiveness of the pat-downs. That Yahoo is printing propaganda as "news" completely discredits Yahoo as a source of information. (Yahoo also keeps a tight rein on comments to its news stories--if a comment is not totally in agreement with their bias, it will not be posted....unless it is so offensive that it paints the writer as a kook. That reinforces Yahoo's stance: See, only nuts disagree with us!")
2. CAIR is not a civil liberties/advocacy organization. It is a fundamentalist group dedicated to imposing sharia on American citizens. It also has members who are affiliated with groups our government lists as terrorist. CAIR's main tactic is to promote an islamist agenda using our legal system and our unwillingness to appear critical of religious expression.( Notice how they insinuated the word "islamophobes": according to CAIR , anyone who objects to sharia is a bigot. ) CAIR is not interested in protecting the rights of all Americans equally. If that were true, they would have issued a statement advising non-hijab wearing individuals of their "rights" regarding pat-downs. Remember, a lot of non-fundamentalist women eschew hijab. Why doesn't CAIR "care" about them?
3. A self-pat-down....how does this help anyone?
4. This is sharia. Under sharia, there's a set of rules for Muslims and a much more stringent set of rules for non-Muslims. The non-Muslims, in sharia-run countries, don't get to have their OWN legal system as an alternative to sharia. They have to observe sharia, and they are penalized for not doing so. Ask Western, non-Muslim women who have travelled in places like Saudi....did they have to cover themselves, and could they publicly consume alcohol (or for that matter, food during Ramadan)? Some of these women insist they are merely following custom, but: if they chose NOT to follow custom, were there penalties? In this case, women who submit to a certain dress code are permitted to circumvent some of the rules in place because, as Muslimas, they should not be subjected to the same humiliations and inconveniences as everyone else.
5. Another story regarding these mysterious Muslim scholars notes that "Airport body scanning violates Islamic Law" (Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, 2/12/2010)http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2010-02-11-airport-scanners-muslims_N.htm "The Fiqh Council of North America — a body of Islamic scholars — issued a fatwa this week that says going through the airport scanners would violate Islamic rules on modesty." In other words, when sharia contradicts US federal law, sharia should trump US law. This is the sort of "civil liberty for all" supported by CAIR.
6. CAIR says this advisory applies to everyone, "regardless of faith," and that's true...but it's not the WHOLE truth. They mean that it applies to everyone regardless of faith AS LONG AS THEY DRESS IN HIJAB. (See # 4). No, you don't have to be Muslim in order to do a hijab self-pat-down, but you DO have to wear hijab...so you do have to observe a fundamentalist religious dress code that is NOT--by the way--ever mentioned in the Qur'an.
7. CAIR is worried about profiling (that section is in the rest of the article). But why is profiling bad, exactly? Profiling has come to mean the same thing as "stereotyping," which is different. Stereotyping is when certain assumptions are made about an entire group, ie. "women are bad drivers." Profiling is when concrete information is used to determine FACTS about certain groups: "Unmarried men under the age of 25 have the highest incidence of traffic fatalities." Not every young, single man will drive recklessly--but enough of them do to merit higher insurance premiums.
As for the travellers who are being scrutinized at the airport, profiling would be a GREAT idea. It would eliminate the need for long lines waiting for scans or pat-downs, as it would apply to people who arouse suspicion because of their behavior or because of their membership in certain, potentially dangerous, groups.