The list below, “Stupid Is As Stupid Does”, arrived in my inbox today.
It can be traced to a tea party site which I will not promote by posting a link. (Besides, it’s not that hard to find.)
Yes, these events happened (although one of them is incorrectly dated). Lots of bad things happen every day all over the world. Profiling based on religion, however, strikes me as another really bad thing.
I wonder what the Founding Fathers would say to the tea party about this idea of profiling based on religion? I like to think that they would say something very much like the original title of the post being quoted here.
Look, I get it. Grandma isn’t likely to be a terrorist, but as the Boston bombing brothers proved you cannot tell someone’s religion – or their intentions – simply by looking at them.
We ought not to be so willing to kid ourselves into thinking that profiling large swathes of people based on their religious beliefs will somehow increase our safety and security. All we will have accomplished will be an affirmation that some of us are willing to sacrifice liberty and freedom for a false sense of security.
And all we need to do is to ask ourselves in which group we’ll eventually find ourselves.
I wonder what would happen if I put a list together of all the white Christian men who have committed crimes over the last 45 years? Would that prove anything? Would it get forwarded around? How successful would we be at picking the criminals from that group out of a crowd or airport security checkpoint?
More than that, do we really want to live in a society where all the members of any group or religion are painted by the brush of the criminal acts of a tiny minority?
I want to be really, really clear. I do not condone any crime or act of terrorism for any reason. I am in no way, shape, or form defending the perpetrators of the crimes on this list. No way. No how. Period. They are bad actors who deserve the full weight of just and legal punishment.
All that said, I respectfully offer a few facts and some opinions about each entry on this list. Take them for whatever you think they might be worth.
1. In 1968, Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed by a Muslim male.
Sirhan Sirhan is a Christian, not a Muslim (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sirhan_Sirhan). Not off to a very good start.
2. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped and massacred by Muslim males
Seems to me that the Black September movement was about politics, not religion. Their tactics were inexcusable. The facts are that they were lashing out at Israel and it wasn’t over religion. Their operation was named for 2 Christian villages, Ikrit and Biram, that had had their inhabitants expelled by Israel in 1948. The attack, by the way, was aided by German neo-Nazis. I think we can be pretty sure that if this crime had been about being Muslim there would not have been any help coming from neo-Nazis. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_massacre)
3. In 1972, a Pan Am 747 was hijacked and eventually diverted to Cairo where a fuse was lit on final approach and it was blown up shortly after landing by Muslim males.
I couldn’t find the referenced hijacking, but I suspect it refers to a hijacking of Pan-Am Flight PA93 on Sept 6, 1970. The hijackers were part of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). They let all the passengers go *before* making their political statement by blowing up the plane on the ground in Cairo (http://www.skyjack.co.il/chronology.htm – it’s a very comprehensive list)
4. In 1973, a Pan Am 707 was destroyed in Rome, with 33 people killed, when it was attacked with grenades by Muslim males.
This heinous crime was committed by what seems clearly to be a politically-driven, not religiously-driven, group called the Arab Nationalist Youth for the Liberation of Palestine (ANYLP). They were founded, funded, and disbanded by on-again-off-again U.S. ally (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muammar_Gaddafi) Muammar Gaddafi in the early 70s. (http://www.skyjack.co.il/chronology.htm and http://www.start.umd.edu/start/data_collections/tops/terrorist_organization_profile.asp?id=4360)
5. In 1979, the US embassy in Iran was taken over by Muslim males.
There’s no denying that it was Muslim students who stormed and held the American Embassy. It was, by some accounts, in rebellion and retaliation for Carter’s admission into the U.S. of the Shah, the deposed leader who had come to power as a result of a CIA-sponsored coup in 1953.
I want to pause here to stress that I’m not defending or exonerating anyone on this list.
I’m only making the point that this list is more about politics than it is religion. This is a list centered only on the political grievances of Muslims. It would be just as easy – easier, actually – to create a longer and more thorough list of “grievances” that were perpetrated upon society all over the world by all kinds of groups, including groups like the KKK and Aryan Nation who have the gall to attach themselves somehow to Christianity. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Girnt_Butler and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Jesus_Christ%E2%80%93Christian)
6. During the 1980’s, a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by Muslim males.
Was Lebanon the only place where Americans were kidnapped in the ’80s? How do we know they were kidnapped by Muslim men? Why isn’t there a single event or victim listed? If the author wants to bolster their argument why not offer at least a few more details? It seems to be on the list for no other reason than to take up a spot on the list.
7. In 1983, the US Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by Muslim males.
This event needs to be understood in the context of events leading up to it. Maybe the following snippet will help. I stress it’s not a defense or justification, only a passage to put this bombing into perspective and context.
“Circumstances took a crucial turn, however, when U.S. gunships in the Mediterranean shelled Syrian-backed Druze militias in support of the Christian government; the perceived role of the multinational force thus shifted from that of unaligned peacekeepers to active support of a particular faction in the Lebanese civil war. This was the backdrop when on the morning of Oct. 23, 1983, a dump truck packed with an estimated 12,000 pounds (5,400 kg) of explosives crashed through the front gates of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut.” (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1474033/1983-Beirut-barracks-bombings)
8. In 1985, the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair. By Muslim males.
The Achille Lauro hijacking is reportedly in retaliation for an Israeli strike against a PLO base that killed 60. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achille_Lauro_hijacking)
I emphasize again that I’m not defending these criminals. I’m only offering evidence that this is about politics, not religion, and it’s impossible to deny that the vast majority of Muslims are *not* members of the PLO, nor are they cruise ship hijackers or murders.
The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) (Arabic: منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية; Munaẓẓamat at-Taḥrīr al-Filasṭīniyyah (help·info)) is an organization created in 1964 with the purpose of creating an independent State of Palestine. It is recognized as the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people” by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed observer status at the United Nations since 1974. The PLO was considered by the United States and Israel to be a terrorist organization until the Madrid Conference in 1991. In 1993, PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist in peace, accepted UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, and rejected “violence and terrorism”; in response, Israel officially recognized the PLO as the representative of thePalestinian people. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestine_Liberation_Organization)
9. In 1985, TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, and a US Navy diver trying to rescue passengers was murdered by Muslim males.
Yes, Hezbollah terrorists were unquestionably the perpetrators of this crime. (http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/twa-flight-847-is-hijacked-by-terrorists)
It still doesn’t make every Muslim male a suspect.
10. In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by Muslim males.
My college roommate’s brother was killed in the Lockerbie bombing. I have no idea if he blames all Muslim men or harbors suspicions about all Muslim males as potential threats. I don’t think he’s that kind of person. I know that I am not.
11. In 1993, the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by Muslim males.
There’s no denying that this was done by male Muslim terrorists. It’s still no more a reason or justification to profile all Muslim men as suspected terrorists then it was to imprison all Japanese-Americans during World War II.
12. In 1998, the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by Muslim males.
Yes, these attacks were clearly planned and executed by Muslim male extremists, including one we helped to arm and train when it suited our purposes in Afghanistan and who couldn’t seem to be brought to justice until a Democrat was in the White House.
I do wonder how much of the failure to capture such a high-profile fugitive might be able to be traced back to the fact that he was the son of a billionaire Saudi construction magnate (who also happened to be the father of 54 children by 22 wives http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed_bin_Awad_bin_Laden).
If we’re going to profile Muslim men, maybe we should start with our wealthy “allies” in Saudi Arabia since 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudis. The others, btw, were from Egypt, Lebanon, and UAE. None were Iraqis, but that’s another story. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hijackers_in_the_September_11_attacks).
13. On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles to take down the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one crashed into the US Pentagon and the other was diverted and crashed by the passengers. Thousands of people were killed by Muslim males.
See #12 above.
19 criminals cannot and never will be reason to suspect and indict the male population of the 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. To borrow the term used by the source of this list, that’s just stupid.
14. In 2002, the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against Muslim males.
I have to say, it takes an incredible amount of boldness for the author to include this item. Talk about your Jihad. Are they actually saying that we invaded Afghanistan to rid the world of all Muslim men instead of just terrorists? What happened to the “War on Terror”? Is it really a “War on Islam”?
See how dangerous this kind of thinking can become?
15. In 2002, reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and beheaded by—you guessed it—Muslim males.
This a terrible and hideous act. There’s no explaining it, and no one will ever convince me that this doesn’t disgust and disturb every rational human being regardless of their religion, including all but the tiniest number of followers of Islam.
So the post wraps up as follows.
No, I really don’t see a pattern here to justify profiling, do you?
So, to ensure we Americans never offend anyone, particularly fanatics intent on killing us, airport security screeners will no longer be allowed
to profile certain people…
Absolutely No Profiling!
They must conduct random searches of 80-year-old women, little kids, airline pilots with proper identification, secret agents who are members
of the President’s security detail, 85-year old Congressmen with metal hips, and Medal of Honor winner and former Governor Joe Foss, but leave
Muslim Males alone lest they be guilty of profiling.
Have the American People completely lost their minds, or just their Power of Reason?
Let’s send this to as many people as we can so that the Gloria Aldreds and other stupid attorneys along with Federal Justices who want to
thwart common sense, feel ashamed of themselves –if they have any such sense.
As the writer of the award winning story ‘Forrest Gump’ so aptly put it, Stupid Is As Stupid Does.’
Ok, pulling 80-year old women, little kids, and anyone who “appears to be a Muslim male” out of security lines for special treatment seems to me to be really pretty stupid.
Again, I get it. Grandma isn’t likely to be a terrorist, but as the Boston bombing brothers proved you cannot tell someone’s religion – or their intentions – simply by looking at them.
What I count on is trained professionals to spot suspicious behavior regardless of age, race, gender, or religion.
And I can’t help but to wrap this up by asking where the demand for profiling was…..
…..for young white men with crew-cuts after 168 people were killed and 800 were injured by Timothy McVeigh?
…for all gun owners after Columbine, Virginia Tech, the Gabby Giffords shooting, the Carson City IHOP, Aurora, the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, and Sandy Hook? (http://www.nycrimecommission.org/initiative1-shootings.php)
…and now for anyone buying a pressure cooker after the Boston Marathon bombings?
To suggest we start suspecting and profiling every Muslim man as a potential terrorist based only on this or any list of extremist crimes seems to me to only serve to drive more wedges between good people.
That’s really stupid.