Subject: Terrorism and Racial Profiling – The West’s Refusal to Confront the Enemy
Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
“I said to myself, ’If this guy doesn’t look like an Arab terrorist, then nothing does.’ Then I gave myself a mental slap, because in this day and age, it’s not nice to say things like this. You’ve checked in hundreds of Arabs and Hindus and Sikhs, and you’ve never done that.’ I felt kind of embarrassed.” These are the words of Michael Tuohey, former US Airways ticket agent as he watched Mohamed Atta going through the Portland International Jetport on September 11, 2001 on his way to Boston. Atta joined the other four terrorists, who then hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 and flew it into the World Trade Center.
In an October 2014 article in the New York Post, Paul Sperry explained, based on findings released in the 9/11 Commission Report, how 3 eyewitnesses who reported the hijackers casing Boston’s Logan Airport’s security checkpoints were ignored by authorities: “Stephen J. Wallace, a 17-year American Airlines technician, first alerted Logan authorities that two Middle Eastern men — one of whom he would ID as Atta from a photo array following the attacks — were acting suspiciously outside the main ¬security checkpoint. It was the morning of May 11, 2001. One was videotaping and taking still photos of the flight board and the checkpoint from about 25 feet away, while the other was talking loudly in Arabic on a cellphone. The behavior went on for 45 minutes. Wallace was so disturbed that he walked over to them and asked about the contents of their carry-on luggage… I said, ‘You guys don’t have any of this stuff in your bags, do you?’ pointing to a kiosk display of prohibited items. They packed up their bags and raced to another checkpoint, with Wallace hot on their heels. Before they entered the other checkpoint, Wallace alerted several airport security agents. ‘I said, ‘These two clowns are up to something. They’ve been taking videos and pictures down at the main checkpoint.’ But authorities never followed up. Instead, declassified records released after 9/11 document agents as saying ‘it was a public area and nothing could be done about it’.
In fact, airport security had clear authority to investigate anybody surveilling a checkpoint at the time, and such activity should have raised major red flags. Just two months earlier, federal authorities advised airlines, including American, that al Qaeda terrorists typically conduct surveillance before attacking a target.
Instead, the worst terrorist hijacker in history was allowed to waltz through security without anyone stopping him, asking his name, checking his ticket, taking a picture, looking at his driver’s license or passport, opening his bags or patting him down. And four months later, on Sept. 11, Atta passed through the same security checkpoint. His carry-on bag got past screeners despite containing box-cutters and mace or pepper spray. He took his seat in business class on American Airlines Flight 11 unimpeded.”
In the UK, authorities have released more details on the first, and deadliest, of its recent three terrorist attacks. Suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated himself at a concert in the Manchester Arena, murdering 22 people and seriously injuring 64 others. Abedi’s suitcase bomb, packed with homemade explosives and nails, was the same method previously used by ISIS at Brussels Airport and Molenbeek Metro Station.
Abedi was reported as early as 2011 to authorities on their antiterrorism hotline for his extremist views. He also had flown back and forth to Libya during that time. ‘The Independent’ newspaper reported that a former acquaintance of Abedi’s told them “’he was a fun outgoing guy but since he went to Libya in 2011 he came back different.’ Other clues pointing to his Islamic radicalization include a neighbor’s reporting of an Islamic black flag on the roof of Abedi’s house.” The Independent also reported that “Of at least 850 extremists known to have left the UK for Isis territories in Iraq and Syria, at least half are believed to have returned and 15 per cent been killed.” Why are they allowed back into the UK? A better question is why are western nations, including America, not more aggressive in confronting radical Islamic terrorism? The answer is the west’s fear of racial profiling (the practice of singling out people based on racial stereotypes).
As Brian Sullivan, former FAA special agent, said about the 9/11 attacks: “I’m convinced that had action been taken after the sighting of Atta, the 9/11 attacks, at least at Logan, could have been deterred.” And as we see from the investigation in the UK, these terrorists leave clues that do single them out as threats.
In our verse this week, King Solomon warns that people will follow an ideology that seems right to them, but it will lead to death. Being so consumed with being labeled racist that we would avoid the warning signs of terrorism is making Solomon’s point. Is there any nation that could teach us how to effectively confront radical terrorism? Next week, we will study how Israel, the size of Rhode Island, manages to do just that.
“The Evidence of Faith’s Substance”, Article #247