Discrimination Against 14 Countries

This week, U.S. announced an intense air screening on the fliers from 14 nations. I am not upset about the law itself at all, I really think that America has every right to protect its country but what I am upset about is the idea of treating people from some countries differently than others. It is simply an act of discrimination whether you like it or not!

Time has shown us that human rights are just a theoretical argument and politicians always use it to manipulate the public! and people  are so pathetic and confused. They have no other way but to believe what they hear in TV and see in the movies.

28 thoughts on “Discrimination Against 14 Countries”

  1. I am so upset by this! More upset by people’s comments the media chose to share during their newscast!

    An anchor on CNN decided to share a viewer’s comment who stated that anyone who carries the name Ahmed or Mohammad should be checked twice and patted down. Could they be any more stereotypical and racist?

    The US is too well equipped and clever to find so many other ways to step up their security measures than by that heinous law, which in fact is racial profiling.

    Why don’t these countries (one of whom is Saudi Arabia) speak up against this? That’s my question.

  2. the questions are, why does America chose these 14 countires ? and not any other ones? . is this discrimination against countries, races and religions? or is it simply the united states trying to protect itself ? . they say all fair in love and war but does America still consider itself at war ?.

  3. It seems whenever American administrations are embarrassed by security lapses in which would-be terrorists are able to get bombs on board in creative ways, the Powers That Be decide to show the people they are tough so they implement such silly things. *sigh* You know they want to assure everyone they are tough on terrorism because people often vote according to their fears whether it’s terrorism, economic woes or anything in between.

    So sorry for that. 😦

  4. I don’t see anything wrong in this law…since 9/11 terrorist and terrorism havens are in Yemen, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia…..in Uk when Ira placed bombs cops stopped people that looked like Irish or had an Irish name.

  5. @ countrygirl,
    I don’t see anything wrong with the law itself. I am really with everything that make us safer but this law should be imposed on everyone, not just people from listed countries. and here is why!
    first, if we allow this to happen, then we can’t draw a line between the law and discrimination. It isn’t an issue of security but rather human right. It is your right and my right to be both treated equal.

    let me give you another example: if we assumed that Mexican has a highest crime rate in los angeles, are the police officer allowed to treat spanish people in LA differently than the rest!

    I am not objecting the law itself, but I am objecting what will follow the law later on!

    @Immaturely Mature,
    I don’t think Saudi Arabia can do anything about it, because Saudi Arabia are viewed a very discriminated country in US for many reason like, the difficulty of getting Saudi visa, christian aren’t treated well, not having church in Saudi and so on. so basically, Saudi can’t complain if it has the same problem!

    you ask very legitimate questions.. are they imposing this law based on someone’s religion, race and country! if so, then it is clearly a problem!

    I am not blaming american for their fears especially with what they hear from the media and gov. I think americans have been through a lot of crisis (9/11) and surly no one want that to happen again.
    I am with everything that make people safe and secure but not on the cost of our liberty and human rights!

  6. Thanks for you reply but I’ve stand with my idea…sadly we aren’t living in a perfect worl and sometimes we must accept sacrificies for the greater good….

    You speak about human rights but what about the rights of people that are in a plane exploded only because a little bit of profiling weren’t enforced.

    Terrorists, sadly, are pretty smart and they always find a way to bring something dangerous on board there isn’t a perfect machine which is able to scan every single dangerous material. You can make a bomb with everything.

    10 years ago I could go on a plane with plenty of liquids, i didn’t have to take off my shoes before boarding and right now i’m lucky if i’m able to have a carry on.

    I think the majority part of the travellers agree with me, as long as the terrorist are coming from muslim countries a little bit of profiling is due.

    Not all muslims are terrorist but lately all terrorist are muslims.

  7. The sad thing is that likely the terrorists will start recruiting people that don’t “look” Arab or Muslim. They will be white people from America or Northern European countries who don’t have the traditional look. So, yeah, eventually it will be forget privacy or individual freedoms — everyone is scrutinized equally. Hey, we went to Syria last year at this time. If we went there now, likely we’d have to undergo the more invasive security checks simply because of our destination and the fact that Syria is thought to be so dangerous. *sigh*

    I love that place and want to go back.

    It’s a shame the world has come to this. 😦

  8. There is always a tension between intelligent use of information and resources, and discrimination. In this area the human rights aspect and not being racist/religionist/whatever is at play and certainly a primary concern. However, the likelihood of certain people being the actual problems is slim, eg to choose easy examples, babies whose names are like those on “THE LIST”.

    Racial profiling is a huge issue in city policing too. The solution in parts of Canada is to emphasize community policing and build up a multi-ethnic police force; also to consult carefully with those who are knowledgeable about the culture, and use their input. Perhaps that should be considered by federal agencies as well, if not done already. Certainly airlines were warned to expect a lot more people “Flying while Muslim” during hajj, and to know the difference between prayer and bomb threats.

    The trade off is to expend huge resource on low yield categories of people, which doesn’t seem sensible economically in either time, money or energy. Even then officers have discretion and use/misuse it so that there is a current news item about a Canadian Muslim who was prevented from boarding a plane to visit her husband in the US–she claims she was the only one taken for extra screening and the only one wearing a headscarf:

    The fear of appearing discriminatory means that all health professionals now gown and glove, and use a face shield routinely, for certain procedures, so that patients expect it and don’t think you are saying that they are the “type” who might have AIDS. However there is actually good medical science behind why this is a good idea for all patients and health care providers.

    I write all prescriptions as if the patient was a doctor-hopping drug abuser/dealer even though none of my patients are and I refuse to prescribe anything worth selling. It establishes a routine for me so I don’t get caught the one time (it is also a safer way to prescribe for normal patients), and so that on the rare occasion anyone asks I can just say the truth: I do all of them like that. Again, good for all, and doesn’t in fact use anymore resources (a few lines of ink, maybe) than normal.

    I am not sure how these ethical ways of dealing with other situations could be applied nationally, or by expanding the 14. One argument against expanding the 14 would be that it is discriminatory to highlight all MENA countries for example, or all Muslim majority countries, etc and here the selection was based (in part) on the foreign government’s history as a state sponsor of terror, or the presence of known listed terrorist groups.

    Unfortunately I see a lot of national politics in the list: Cuba = Miami/ie Florida votes, ie the one Obama lost, and manoevred the primaries to exclude Hilary who did win in Florida; Libya=stealing votes from the Republicans who love to hate Libya even though supposedly relations with the US are normalized; Sudan?; Nigeria because of the one who got in under Obama’s watch–begging the question is it the Nigerian passport he travelled on or the Yemeni expertise he had that was the problem?

    Re: who is a terrorist, wiki has an interesting comparative table:

    The Irish, Basques, Colombians, Khalochistanis and Tamils, are not Muslims. Canada’s greatest terrorist disaster was the Air India flight blown up by Indian Sikhs.

    One way the these groups survive profiling is to combine forces eg in the past IRA trained by Libya funded by PLO; and using Europeans to act on behalf of non-European groups. Profiling would need to change as the terrorists change tactics.

    Great topic and comments!

  9. Countries don’t treat people all the same. A person from the UK doesn’t need a visa to visit the US, a person from Saudi Arabia does. This is different but not as different as you might think.

  10. @jerry M,
    Thank you so much for being part of the discussion. anyway, Your example is very different case than the intense air screening.
    People who are required and who aren’t based on the country they come from fall under the contract between the two country. So for example, Saudi Arabia signed up a contract with the gulf countries to allow its citizen to work and travel without any visa! Mutual agreement.
    in the intense air screening, it isn’t based on mutual agreement, It isn’t like UK signed an agreement with USA not to be listed among the 14 countries and so on.

  11. @Countrygirl,
    It is true that we don’t live in a perfect world, but that doesn’t justify the theory of sacrificing for the greatest good, especially if the sacrifice comes from our freedom and human rights.
    American has made a huge mistake when they thought that they can sacrifice part of their freedom by allowing the government to have a surveillance over the phone calls because they have been told it is for their security and protection.
    It has been said that if you sacrifice your freedom for the sake of your security, you lose them both. and I say that if you lose your human rights for the sake of your security, you lose them both too.

    as I said, I am not against the law. I am in fact with the intense screening but not only in the listed countries but on all the countries because terrorist can be anyone from any countries. and I can bring you a list of American terrorists/criminal who has killed many american like (Columbia University shooting, etc)

    anyway, please continue the discussion I really respect your point of view. Thanks again

  12. Granted they are many americans that killed others american (Columbine massacre, Oklahoma Bombing and so on) but those killers/terrorist were lone wolves, sadly there is a tiny minority (and even a 0.1% of 1.5 billion it’s a lot of people) among the muslims that are willing to blow themselves up to kill as many as infidels/kuffirs.

    The most important thing is human life and as I said before if a little bit of profiling can help to save human lives it’s welcome.

    The Mumbay terrorists came from Pakistan, 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi, two of the 7/7 terrorists even they were born in the Uk travelled to Pakistan prior the bombing…..

    Is more treatening a guy in his 20es coming from Saudi or a woman coming from Italy? You can’t check everyone (the lines at the airports would be looooooong) so you must focus on the more likely suspects.

  13. @Murtadha

    I simply don’t see that discrimination against some countries is wrong. We have friends, we have enemies and we have countries in between. The new policy is a very blunt instrument, but in the absence of a real working policy, it is a start. The US had a wake-up call and if some changes weren’t made, those is charge would be judged negligent.

    The US needs to adopt some kind of behavior based profiling. The US probably should use dogs to check for explosives. The US needs better intelligence and it needs better followthrough on the ground (a recent incident in Newark Airport showed that the system there was broken – we cannot be secure if we don’t even try).

  14. Murtadha–looking forward to your comments.

    Country Girl–the Oklahoma Bombing was not a lone wolf but a coordinated group, one of the many cells in the US that think the US government has gone soft, is too involved in people’s lives or isn’t acting American enough. They live in rural areas a train as a national militia force to take back the country. Like Timothy McVeigh they often have previous military training, and they have caches of military arms. They tend to be far right wing Protestants.

    I think better human intelligence at all levels would either lead to better, more sophisticated prophiling not based on country of origin, or recent travel but on other parametres.

    As it is now I have an Irish Canadian friend whose name is an extremely common Irish one, which means he is on THE LIST, or some IRA member with a similar alias is. He is thinking of having his Irish passport issued in Gaelic because then his name wouldn’t be on THE LIST–except maybe they already have the Gaelic version up as well.


  15. I agree with Jerry M on this one. As I wrote on another blog my husband is a non Muslim but comes from India so he looks physically “the type” and on occasion he gets profiled. His attitude is “better inconvenienced than dead.”

    While it may seem discriminatory and perhaps it is discriminatory but for a reason. They didn’t just throw a dart at a map of the world…At the moment the countries they have identified seem to be fueling a lot of the terrorism. During WW2 when the Americans were at war with Japan thousands of Japanese…American citizens..were rounded up and put into detention camps and were “potential” suspects after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. they had nothing except be Japanese.To me that was a huge overreaction to the bombing, but the point is they weren’t looking at Saudis or Yemanis at that time…they were looking at the Japanese. Ten years from now who knows who it will be. The ones who make the most noise or mischief.

    Quick story: years ago I took a trip to Japan to visit a penpal. When coming back into the country through Miami Fla.and coming through customs our plane arrived at the same time as a plane from Columbia so we were all grouped together as we went through. As I stood in line and watched the people in front of me go through I watched the customs people take knives and open the packages that were coming through that were sealed like taped boxes etc. I couldn’t imagine why they were doing it. I had brought back many gifts from Japan. Anyone who has ever been there knows that the Japanese can wrap a gift and fold the paper in GORGEOUS intricate patterns. I looked at my gifts all beautifully sealed and KNEW they were going to get opened. After all was said and done I asked them why they did that. One customs guy told me that they had a drug trafficking problem and any flight coming in at the same time as Columbian flights had to be searched this way. Look at the situation. A flight from Columbia coming into the Miami airport. Even though I hated to lose the beautiful wrappings on my gifts and I certainly was innocent, I chalked it up as one of those things in life that stinks but had a reasonable idea behind it.

    I do understand your point about civil liberties and freedoms, Murthada. It is a tough line to walk and certainly profiling isn’t the ONLY way to find people and perhaps not even the most effective.

  16. It’s sad when countries impose rules that inconvenience the innocent.

    But then you cannot blame them for being very vigilant, since it’s their country’s safety that is at stake.

    However, even the most secure and comprehensive security measures can fail, since many potential troublemakers (I don’t like the tone of “terrorist”) nowadays are either too clever or are coming from groups that aren’t among the suspected ones.

    Here in my country, even if there’s not much of a threat, Muslims (even if they don’t have the “looks” are often subjected to stricter security checks in airports, seaports, bus terminals, etc. I know how it feels to be inconvenienced by current security measures. I know it’s to keep the place and people safe, but to place UNREASONABLE stricter controls on particular groups is another thing. Sometimes the authorities want to play games and pick out an innocent person and subject him to closer screening just to insult him because he comes from one of the suspected groups. I guess that’s what makes a lot of us feel uncomfortable about the whole thing.

    And oh, I just wish troublemakers would jam in it their heads that what they do backfires and goes back on their innocent brothers and sisters who in turn suffer the consequences.

  17. @Chiara I stand with my opinion the Oklahoma bombing was a one time thing, there a some militia around the Us but if you look at the % you can consider lone wolves.

    Right now the islamic terrorists can be placed in a particular age group and “type” and as oby said better safe than sorry…right now the US are using profiling WITH other ways of checking.

  18. If we agree with this new law, then US should also put UK among the list. There are more radical muslim in UK than in algeria!

    again, the discussion isn’t meant to be one side view. I am really glad that countrygirl, JerryM, Obey, Chaira, Coralbead and Susanne share their view with me here.

    please watch this youtube clip. It is very related to our discussion and it will help to clarify my point

  19. Murtadha – Great discussion on an important and incredibly tricky – not to mention – topic of concern to all of us.

    Quick question about your last comment above this one – in suggesting that the US put the UK on the list, you seem to be agreeing with those who say that ALL Muslims, regardless of nationality, should be profiled. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, but I am interested in your perspective.

    Here’s mine:

    In all my years here in Saudi, I have never once NOT been “randomly selected” for extra security coming into the States due to nothing more than the visas in my passport.

    Is it a hassle – sometimes, but – and here’s my point – as long as I have nothing to hide, and as long as I agree that terrorism is wrong, then why would I have any problem whatsoever with complying with security measures?

    Because it is an inconvenience? That’s silly. Seat belts are an inconvenience, too, but when was the last time you heard someone whine about the legality of seatbelt laws? We all know they make us safer, so we endure the inconvenience and move on.

    Because it is demeaning? Is it? Or is it only demeaning if you frame it in that context? When I’m pulled aside, my first thought isn’t, oh gee this is unfair and making an assumption about “people like me”, but good! these guys are doing their job and doing it thoroughly and smartly! I choose to frame it as the cost of living in these times.

    Anyway – again, great discussion and wonderful moderation – as always. I’m enjoying watching you really bite off some good topics of late…keep up the good work!


  20. @Sand Gets in my Eyes,
    very thoughtful and great comment. New perspectives added to the discussion and that is really great.

    as for your first question, I wasn’t suggesting, I was raising a question. Here is another way to say it. So if we assume that US made the list of countries based on the terrorism ideology in these countries, not based on religion and ethnicity, in these countries, not based on religion, then that should apply to UK too, because the truth is there are so called a radical Muslims in UK too.

    I am really supporting the intense screening if it is based on the profile and legitimate information of the person not because the person is from this country or belong to this religion.

    so let me give you a personal example, last year I went to do my GMAT test in a location in Seattle, Wa. When I came to the location, I realize my test is in a military base. When I present my document to the officer, they saw that my visa was expired so they got very skeptic. They handcuff me, they took me to prison-cell and then they left me there for about 10 hours. I wasn’t upset about it all. At the end, they looked at my profile and then call the immigration and then they realized that I am here for the test and that my visa status is valid as long I am taking classes. I couldn’t make it for GMAT test because the time has already passed so I lost about $250 in addition to the trip cost. I didn’t complain about it. I even thank the police officer for their investigation.
    So here the police has every right to investigate me a legitimate reason (a student with expired visa coming to do a GMAT test in a military base) so I didn’t mind at all doing that with everyone they feel skeptic about.
    but that isn’t the way it is with the new law. The intense screening will be based on where the person is coming from and the way he/she looks.

    Here the complain isn’t because I want to be more comfortable, and pass the airport procedure quickly, but the complain about civil right. It isn’t as wearing the seat-belt, because obviously everyone has to wear the seat-belt regardless of their nationality, religion or race. but if the wearing seat-belt is being forced only on one specific nationality, or specific race, then it is a civil right problem.
    Another way to present the problem is that it is like a police doing an intense screening and questioning on black people in LA streets because there are high crimes from black race in LA and to ensure the safety for the whole city. This is obviously wrong. We can’t trade our civil right for something else like our security just because many people from one race or religion has done awful and criminal things.

    Thank you again Sand Gets in my Eyes, I really respect with your point and the purpose of my long discussion is present all other views on such an important topic. At the end, we all learn from the perspective of others

  21. @murtadha

    You make a good point about the UK, but given the amount of people entering the US from the UK it is simply impossible to target that country. During WWII the US chose to imprison people of Japanese ancestry but not Italians for Germans for a number of reasons, but the simplest one was the fact that there were far too many Germans and Italians in the US. That is why one needs to come up with some other kind of criterion.

  22. Quote: An anchor on CNN decided to share a viewer’s comment who stated that anyone who carries the name Ahmed or Mohammad should be checked twice and patted down. Could they be any more stereotypical and racist?

    And why not? It is a matter of statistics.

    Profiling is necessary and logical – but not a solution. There is no way to stop all terror. I have no problem being stopped and searched – if that is what it takes. Just make sure that any Muslim in line gets the same treatment. I don’t care if it hurts their feelings.


  23. @ Jay: if what you mean is that both Muslims AND non-Muslims get the same treatment, then I’m for it! But if authorities will use inspections AS A WAY TO HURT INNOCENT PEOPLE AND HUMILIATE THEM, that is not right. Believe me, I’ve been in situations like that. I don’t mind being inspected for as long as the person next to me gets inspected in the same way. By the way, as for hurting feelings, I wonder how would YOU people feel if you were subjected to things like that? Of course I know you’d yell “DISCRIMINATION”!!! No offense meant!

  24. No one discriminates more than the Saudis. Saudi Arabia is the biggest example of discrimination against foreigners even in the simplest rights such as the right to medical and health care.

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