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Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016

Racial profiling may not always be wrong

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

OK, so here's the background. Six Muslims book the same flight. Three of the men had one-way tickets and no checked baggage. Some of the men asked for seat belt extensions even though flight attendants told the men they weren't needed.

One passenger passed a note to the pilot that said the men were overheard criticizing the U.S. involvement in Iraq and speaking angrily near the boarding gate.

So police removed the six men who were all imams (religious leaders) traveling to a convention in Minneapolis.

Now, as could be expected, the ACLU and the Muslim community are in a uproar over the "profiling" and the "humiliation" to which the men were subjected. The airline has apologized and the men boarded another flight to their destination.

Is this profiling "Flying while Muslim"? Or is it a precautionary measure that should be taken in today's troubled world? The truth is we'll never agree.

Were I on that particular flight, I would applaud the airline for taking the precaution. And I would not be one bit shy to apologize when the full story unfolded. But given the set of circumstances, would you blame the airline?

Is profiling always wrong? Or are there instances where profiling is just common sense and an extra precaution? Clearly there are two distinct points of view and - stating the obvious - if you are the subject of profiling, I would assume you would be humiliated and embarrassed and darned upset as well.

Yet, were some sort of profiling used on Sept. 11, 2001, perhaps the events of the past five years would have been different. That's a weak argument in favor of profiling but in our quest to attain political correctness, sometimes we throw common sense to the wind.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen