Rights groups: new US air screening 'racial profiling'

American civil liberty groups termed new US air screening launched for airline passengers from 14 Muslim nations as "racial profiling".

Rights groups: new US air screening 'racial profiling'

American civil liberty groups termed new US air screening launched for airline passengers from 14 Muslim nations as "racial profiling".

The tighter security measures, which range from passengers being patted down to full-body scans, constitute racial profiling when there is no realistic way to predict the national origin of a potential attacker, the American Civil Liberties Union said on Monday.

The move comes in the wake of the alleged attempt to attack a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight on Dec. 25.

The measures announced by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration affect passengers arriving from Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria as well as Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen.

"Every individual flying into the U.S. from anywhere in the world traveling from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest will be required to go through enhanced screening," the TSA said.

Michael German, national security policy counsel with the ACLU Washington legislative office, said that singling out travelers from a few specified countries for enhanced screening "is essentially a pretext for racial profiling, which is ineffective, unconstitutional and violates American values."

"We shouldn't complacently surrender our rights for a false sense of security," he said in a statement.

With 13 of the 14 nations cited by the TSA being majority Muslim, the procedures amount to ethnic profiling, said the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a civil rights and advocacy organization.

"Under these new guidelines, almost every American Muslim who travels to see family or friends or goes on pilgrimage to Mecca will automatically be singled out for special security checks -- that's profiling," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad in a statement.

"While singling out travelers based on religion and national origin may make some people feel safer, it only serves to alienate and stigmatize Muslims and does nothing to improve airline security," Awad said.


Agencies


Last Mod: 05 Ocak 2010, 15:02
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