David Blackburn

Why profiling is essential

Why profiling is essential
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It is a truth, yet to be universally acknowledged, that the overwhelming majority of global terrorism is committed by radical Muslims. However, the Guardian reports that Whitehall has reached that conclusion and passenger profiling is “in the mix” of the latest airport security review. Thank God, sense prevails at last. The previous airport review, conducted in the aftermath of the liquid bomb plot, decided against profiling. What followed was a fatuous politically correct concoction. Even pilots’ toothpaste was examined; one pilot commented: “If I want to kill everyone (on board) I don’t faff around with plastic explosives, I point the nose at the ground”. Such determined absurdity should be behind us.

Alas, not everyone gets it. Shami Chakrabati warns:

“Any response to terrorism has to be proportionate and respectful of the human rights values of dignity, privacy and liberty that governments on both sides of the Atlantic have been all too easily tempted to ignore.”

Profiling is not a human rights issue, being blown-up certainly is. Racial and religious profiling is not a panacea. Al-Qaeda’s chief forte is deception, expect all manner of ingenious disguise. There will be those who are at best enraged and at worst radicalised by what they perceive to be victimisation. Also, maniacs like Richard Reid might escape screening. However, profiling is essential for improving the safety of all passengers; that is self-evident. It also facilitates a more subtle strategic aim: limiting al-Qaeda’s ability to strike at the heart of the West will deny it the infamy and perverse glamour it needs to recruit Muslims in the West.