2010-01-21

Of Tefillin and Terrorists

A lot of news outlets today have reported on a bomb scare involving a teenage Orthodox Jewish boy and his religious paraphernalia on a plane flight. The item in question is called a tefillin (sp?); his fellow plane passengers mistook it for a bomb. He was released without arrest after being questioned after landing.
My question is, are we going to start searching all teenage Jewish boys?
Oh, wait.
I am not in any way trying to imply displeasure at the inability to search teenage Jewish boys. Quite the opposite - I am expressing my disgust at the people who have seriously suggested strip-searching all young Muslim adult passengers in the wake of the failed Christmas Day bombing. They suggest that, yet they won't say anything about this kid. What hypocrisy.
I similarly don't like Franklin Roosevelt as much as some other liberals (I like him, but I don't love him) because of the internment of Japanese citizens following the Pearl Harbor bombing. I certainly do not condone that sort of thing, but relative to the failed Christmas Day bombing and its aftermath among the talking heads here, the internment had a tiny modicum of validity: the attack was by the Japanese government, and many Japanese families here had relatives still in Japan. Compare that to the fact that the Christmas Day bomber was part of an extremist group that is not part of a government operation (though some governments allow/accept/promote its existence in those countries).
People, let's stop discriminating against a race/ethnicity after one person commits a terrible crime (or comes really, really close). I would much rather see British security here, as they look for suspicious activity without racial profiling and without taking all things like toothpaste tubes and water bottles from people (as far as I know). That's how the planned hijackings from London in 2005 were averted before the planes could get off the ground; I remember news analysis saying that British Airways was so displeased with the US intelligence failure that it was about to implement its own standards in US airports to which it flew.

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