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  • We fully reject police profiling

    by Sunny
    21st August, 2006 at 2:40 pm    

    “The reality is that profiling in one form or another has always existed in policing and football hooligans are only one example. I have no doubt that the Home Secretary predicted negative knee-jerkism at the slightest hint of profiling, but it is a sad state of affairs that this has come from a high ranking police officer at such a sensitive time.

    “In dismissing profiling before making a dispassionate analysis of the evidence - good and bad, positive and negative - I fear Mr Dizaei is displaying the same mindset as his colleague Metropolitan Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur: blissful ignorance.”

    He continued: “Cheap, sensationalist soundbites about creating an offence of ‘travelling whilst Asian’ are only likely to inflame moderate Muslim opinion and thus play into the hands of the terrorist. Yes, this is a difficult and emotive debate. But it is a debate we must have.”

    Yes, let’s have a debate. These are the opinions of Police Federation’s vice-chairman Alan Gordon. He, let me start off by saying, is an idiot.

    It seems the police, along with New Labour, is intent on making Britons into paranoid freaks. With the level of intelligence displayed by PP regular j0nz, which says: “well, an 80 year old granny is hardly likely to blow up a plane is she?”, the police has run out of any sensible ideas.

    I’ve met Tarique Ghaffur numerous times and have immense respect him. He has remained loyal to the police and has always strived to deal with extremism and rising crime amongst ethnic minority groups (drugs in Southall, gang warfare amongst Tamils, crime in Tower Hamlets etc) without making it a race issue. The police didn’t even want to give him any money to deal with it so he went to Asian businesses. That’s how much he cares. And he tried hard to get people to think about joining the Met police. And what does he get in return? Mud in his face.

    What was surprising about his admission that racism had held him back was that it took so long in coming. Journalists who deal with the police had been saying it for years. It was obvious he was being used as token Asian / Muslim police officer while his talents were being ignored. He didn’t play the race card because he loved the police. But he has clearly had enough.

    Now, Ch Supt. Ali Dezaei and Tarique Ghaffur are embroiled in a row over passenger profiling because they know the consequences - it will simply play into the hands of those (of all religions) who keep saying Asians will never be accepted in this country as equals.

    Before some wise-ass retorts that if terrorism didn’t exist we would not be here, let me remind you that this racial profiling has long been in practice towards the African-Caribbean community - with no visible impact other than to make them even more suspicous and antagonistic of the police. After Isiah Young-Sam’s murder during the B’ham riots last year some African groups were planning to take militias there to protect families because they had no faith in the police.

    Is it any wonder that while Alan Gordon mentions profiling of football hooligans (yeah right) but neglects to mention why stop-and-search figures for young black Britons is so high and whether that’s had any impact. Don’t accuse others of “cheap soundbites” Gordon if that’s all you have to offer too.

    It is our duty to offer full support to Tarique Ghaffur and Ali Dezaei so the upper echelons of the police think twice before dismissing their advice so cheaply. The police cannot expect and will not get the full support of ethnic minority communities if it treats them so disdainfully.

                  Post to

    Filed in: Civil liberties,Race politics

    81 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. tasneem khalil » 360° - 22/8 2006

      [...] Reject police profiling. [...]

    2. tasneem khalil

      360° - 22/8 2006…

      Islamophobia: The American empire needed a new enemy.

      Hezbollah shifts focus from war front to home front.

      Maoist rebels spread across rural India.

      Ustad Bismillah Khan, RIP.

      Reject police profiling.


    3. I Don’t Really Want To Do This at pass the roti on the left hand side

      [...] I was just visiting our friends on the other side of The Pond and I read someone reference a recent New York Times article entitled “Pakistanis Find U.S. an Easier Fit Than Britain”. At the time I’m writing this, it’s, truly unfortunately, the fourth most e-mailed article from the Times website. Here was the Pickled Politics commenter’s point: According to this story in the New York Times today, the US is a much better place to be a Pakistani than the UK. [...]

    1. Arif — on 21st August, 2006 at 3:12 pm  

      Profiling will occur whether we like it or not. The point of saying we don’t like it is so that it is not done in an obvious way. If it is done in an obvious way, it is a gift to radicals: “see you are officially a second-class person, they will never accept you, they will always suspect you” will be another hook to add to the unmentionable ones we all know about.

      As has to be said in so many recent debates - there is a dynamic which we might want to step out of here:

      Not all radicals are bad. Not all profilers are bad. But they simplify and feed off suspicion of one another’s extremes which squeezes us to take sides.

      Not a good thing for society. Anyone with better ideas is liable to be considered a utopian fruitcake. So I’ll leave it there and not try to be constructive!

    2. DR1001 — on 21st August, 2006 at 3:20 pm  

      It’s depressing that the UK environment(which was always just and balanced) is becoming more and more like the US…the Us of terror levels, the paranoia, etc.

    3. EiNY — on 21st August, 2006 at 3:50 pm  

      Really, DR!001? According to this story in the New York Times today, the US is a much better place to be a Pakistani than the UK.

      And judging by the events of the past couple of weeks, I’d say the UK is in much more of a state of panic than the US.

    4. Jai — on 21st August, 2006 at 3:58 pm  

      I recently commented on this issue during an identical debate over on SM, as follows:

      (link: )

      “I don’t think there’s any foolproof method to identify people’s religious affiliation — you might as well try to figure out who’s a Catholic and who’s a Protestant based just on their appearance or their answers to supposedly pertinent questions.

      People can always use false (non-Islamic) names and false passports, and really determined jihadis will either alter their appearance to remove any Islam-related identifiers or they will deliberately act/dress in certain ways to deflect suspicion (eg. as Westernised as possible). Ethnicity-based identification is also no guarantee of catching the right people, as we’ve all discussed previously.

      But it’s worthwhile trying to figure out some way to increase the likelihood of successfully identifying potential jihadis anyway, at least in order to catch out the incompetent types who may slip up somehow, along with reassuring the public in general that at least some measures are being taken in order to try to increase their safety.

      This issue needs to be dealt with at the core, as we’re currently debating on Pickled Politics (sorry for the plug but it is highly relevant): Remove the religious justification in the minds of the jihadis, since they’re basing their actions on their interpretation of Islam. Suitable imams need to be at the forefront of this approach — a religiously-derived problem ideally requires a religiously-based solution.”

    5. Jai — on 21st August, 2006 at 4:05 pm  

      This also just in from SM: A Muslim doctor over in the US (along with several of his colleagues) was thrown off a domestic flight after one of the passengers panicked when the doctor was reciting his evening prayers:

    6. DR1001 — on 21st August, 2006 at 4:08 pm  

      You are right the focus is more on Pakistanis in the UK NOW, but only cos the US is still looking at Arabs as the major threat.
      Also it’s believed the pakistanis in the US are more affluent and generally as a community less poorer than in the UK, therefore have less reason to feel alienated.

      But in general the attitude of the general public to terrorism i feel in the UK was a lot more calm, until now.

    7. Jagdeep — on 21st August, 2006 at 4:15 pm  

      Sunny, I don’t think you can be taken seriously as an advocate for Tariq Ghaffur yourself when you begin your article with the following sentence about Alan Gordon:

      He, let me start off by saying, is an idiot.

      That’s just childish and does nothing for your argument. In fact if you have to descend to that level in your first paragraph the rest of what you say won’t be taken seriously. If you want to your arguments to have credibility it’s better to leave the juvenile name calling behind. Your arguments should be able to speak for themselves.

    8. Sharifa — on 21st August, 2006 at 4:17 pm  

      No, the US isn’t looking at Pakistanis with the same suspition because it relies on Pakistan as the front-line ally in the war on terror. The irony is that most of the so-called training camps and Jihadi activities etc are not in the Middle East or Afghanistan but in fact in Pakistan. But this don’t fit in with the US view of evil , rogue states. Nothing to do with Pakistanis in US being more affluent etc. If interested see article by Fred Halliday on Greater Western Asia and where allies and foe states fit …

      I think the UK govt has now come around to the view that socially excluded Muslims do not throw bombs but those more upwardly mobile , so relative affluence/social exclusion of suspects isn’t relevant. Or perhaps they are randomly going for Asian Muslim males - regardless of socio-economic profile. Dunno.

    9. Don — on 21st August, 2006 at 4:34 pm  

      The only way profiling would work would be to adopt the El Al system, wherby even the lowest risk of the three tiers are observed from the moment they enter the airport, questioned in detail by trained specialists, itineraries examined, ticket purchase details checked, body language observed from behind screens, in addition to security watches on cleaners and caterers, multiple baggage checks and multiple armed sky-marshals on every flight.

      But that won’t happen because we don’t have the personnel or the cash. So it will be a token, or at best a way to speed up procedures without actually making anything safer. Only the most sophisticated groups will actually make it as far as getting a real bomb to the airport (after several dummy runs) and if they think they are rumbled, what’s to stop them taking out the check-in queue? Or more likely, going for a soft option such as public transport or christmas shoppers in a mall?

      Or, come to think of it, getting a hooky passport (easily done) in a stereo-typically jewish name, dressing as an orthodox jew and learning a smattering of hebrew.

      Or using a convert or a dupe.

      There are around 190 million passengers per annum passing through UK airports and as we have all seen, security is a muddle with god knows how many agencies and private companies (lowest bidders, of course) taking a piece here and a piece there. The idea that there is a short term solution is ridiculous.

      Statistically, terrorism has had no real impact on your chances of being killed while flying (I believe it’s around 25 million to 1) but if you are still not comfortable, don’t fly or go El Al.

    10. Stephen — on 21st August, 2006 at 4:34 pm  

      The sensible form of profiling targets young people of all ethnic backgrounds- and waves through families, children and old women.

    11. Jackie Brown — on 21st August, 2006 at 4:34 pm  

      Agree w/ Arif (1). I appreciate the reference to profiling of people of Afro descent in US/UK- and *NOT* just the police force. Perhaps some people will now pause before blindly operating under the assumption that black = criminal/antisocial tendencies

      Raymond Kelly, New York City’s police commissioner after London’s 7/7 bombings:

      “Generalizations involve matching a category of people to a behavior or trait….. But, for that process to work, you have to be able both to define and to identify the category you are generalizing about”. “You think that terrorists aren’t aware of how easy it is to be characterized by ethnicity?” Kelly went on. “Look at the 9/11 hijackers. They came here. They shaved. They went to topless bars. They wanted to blend in. They wanted to look like they were part of the American dream. These are not dumb people. Could a terrorist dress up as a Hasidic Jew and walk into the subway, and not be profiled? Yes
      Full article here:

    12. Jagdeep — on 21st August, 2006 at 4:42 pm  

      Only the most sophisticated groups will actually make it as far as getting a real bomb to the airport (after several dummy runs) and if they think they are rumbled, what’s to stop them taking out the check-in queue? Or more likely, going for a soft option such as public transport or christmas shoppers in a mall?

      Exactly. I expect that at some point we’ll see inter-city trains being targetted, as well as places like Bluewater or Trafford shopping centres. At least with airlines there is a sense of concentrating on a known target. Blow up a queue of teenagers outside a nightclub like in Bali, except in Manchester, Birmingham or London, and you really will start to terrorise - then the message will be wherever you are we’ll kill you. You’re not even safe in Wolverhmpton or Didsbury now.

    13. Kulvinder — on 21st August, 2006 at 4:43 pm  

      Sunny, jagdeep is right about that sentence :(

      As for the profiling, i can actually appreciate both sides of the argument. It has been used in the past, though id dispute it was the determining factor in ‘solving’ those areas it was used in. Im weary of it being used extensively in the future not only because of the inevitable alienation it will cause amongst ‘brown people’ regardless of their background - there is no other really quantifiable way of profiling in this instance; but much more seriously because it shows a dangerously naive assessment of the terrorists ability to adapt.

      Its fairly obvious with the varying methods and targets being ‘used’ by these people that they aren’t idiots. Theres been a coherent history of finding whatever weakness exists in the security measures and exploiting it. It would show uncharacteristic incompetance on their path to ‘flag’ themselves as a demographic that is being watched. To answer jonz’s question in a previous thread if a blonde haired woman did blow up a plane i doubt any of the victims or their relatives would find any comfort in the fact the police’s only responce was ‘we were looking for asian males’.

      Infact id go as far as to say if nothing else this debate has probably highlighted to the terrorists exactly how they shouldn’t behave or look.

    14. Jagdeep — on 21st August, 2006 at 4:44 pm  

      Institute hard policy level profiling and terrorists will just factor it into their equations - use white or black converts instead of Pakistani Muslims etc etc.

    15. EiNY — on 21st August, 2006 at 4:47 pm  

      Jackie Brown, I don’t agree with Kelly when he says “Could a terrorist dress up as a Hasidic Jew and walk into the subway, and not be profiled? Yes”

      A friend of mine had just such a thought on a subay train crossing the Manhattan bridge last year:

      Then a horrifying thought entered my head. What if the Hasidic guy was an Islamist in disguise? I knew the absurdity of what I was thinking but I also new I was onto something. The guy had a bag on the floor and a large rucksack on his back. I looked up to see his face. He was fairly dark skinned. I started wondering how dark Jewish people can be. I knew I was being stupid and ignorant and probably racist but the thoughts kept coming. Wouldn’t dressing as a Hasidic Jew be the perfect disguise? Who would ever stop you and check your bag? And what about all those mad clerics who believe in Zionist plots to take over the world? They’d have a field day when they saw the CCTV footage on the news. Oh brain, please, no more!

      If he can think it, then I am sure the security services can too.

    16. Jagdeep — on 21st August, 2006 at 4:50 pm  

      I tend to agree with your arguments broadly Sunny by the way, it’s just that calling Alan Gordon an idiot backfires on you completely.

      Although I think Kulvinder’s post number 13 is a more subtle analysis of why it would be wrong to institute a hard policy of profiling.

    17. Chairwoman — on 21st August, 2006 at 4:52 pm  

      ‘it will simply play into the hands of those who say Asians (of all religions) will never be accepted in this country’

      Take it from me, nobody of immigrant stock is ever really accepted in this country. And before anyone poo-poos me, let me remind you that there are two groups of people born here, the English/Scots/Welsh, and the British. Please note, I said people who are born here. People whose parents were born here. People whose grandparents were born here. No matter how far back you go, if you’re name’s Patel, or Singh, or Ahmed, or Goldberg, you’ll always be British.

    18. Rakhee — on 21st August, 2006 at 5:01 pm  

      Speaking of cheap sound bites, see this as 11 people are charged with bomb plotting:

      “Deputy Assistant Commissioner Clarke said: “I can assure the public that we are doing everything we can to keep you safe so that you can live your lives without being in constant fear.

      “The threat from terrorism is real. It is here, it is deadly and it is enduring. We cannot afford to be complacent.”

      Yes, thank you. That’s just what is needed to keep everyone calm.

    19. Arif — on 21st August, 2006 at 5:08 pm  

      The thing is we can’t agree with one another on how to stop terrorism at any earlier stage. We all have our pet theories and prescriptions, but we can’t get others to see the problem our ways.

      So the only policies we can even discuss politely (or if Sunny gets involved, even then not so politely!) are ones to make us safe from ever-increasing numbers of terrorists. Will ID cards work? would more screening work? would profiling work? would phone-tapping work? - basically increased surveillance. I think the dangers of losing civil liberties seem far less dramatic to most people than a bomb on the bus. So here is the politically easiest way to be seen to do something and for the Government to take “hard” choices to sacrifice liberties for security under their umbrella.

      I think if we want to create a better society, we have to find a way to talk to one another about how to be “tough on the causes of” terrorism, without being seen as racists, apologists, sellouts and so on. If not, we can let the police have more and more powers over us until the terrorism magically disappears.

    20. Stephen — on 21st August, 2006 at 5:13 pm  

      The point of profiling is not to catch suspects- but to speed up the queues by eliminating people that are definitely not suspects.

      If -as experience at UK airports last week suggests- we cannot have blanket security, then security will be targeted to an extent.

      What you choose to call this policy and whether it is explicit or not is moot.

    21. Arif — on 21st August, 2006 at 5:22 pm  

      Stephen, I agree with that. I think that this is what makes it damaging, as it would create a first and second class of passengers. One group under less suspicion than another. Even though both groups would benefit from quicker queues, the cost would be in terms of resentments at being in the second class.

      I think profiling is also considered a way to save resources, and to target existing resources (more effectively in some peoples’ point of view and ineffectively in other people’s view).

    22. Nusrat — on 21st August, 2006 at 5:23 pm  

      “These are the opinions of Police Federation’s vice-chairman Alan Gordon. He, let me start off by saying, is an idiot.”

      Sunny, I would beg to disagree. An idiot would be a man who states that Amartya Sen won the nobel in chemistry and later, in a fit of pretension, claims that he [the idiot] is a huge admirer of Sen.
      What a self obsessed ass h*&%

    23. Jackie Brown — on 21st August, 2006 at 7:18 pm  

      EiNY— it probably wasn’t clear from the excerpt- but the point the officer was making is that any type of ETHNIC/RACIAL profiling would not work. In the last lot rounded up- there was an English[white] convert-, Richard Reed- black convert etc , ad nauseum

    24. Raul — on 21st August, 2006 at 8:22 pm  

      The question is not about profiling but about fanatical mass murderers and what you are going to do about it. What is the response or don’t people feel threatened by this. What would you do if you were in charge of security. Let’s have some solutions as opposed to juvenile responses to profiling.

      This is not about profiling, this is about preventing these madmen from perpetrating another atrocity but this camel in the sand approach is going to to ensure that racism and discrimation against muslims becomes a self fulfulling prophecy. Is that right, no, can you prevent it from happening as the threat level increases and more incidents happen, no.

      Muslims are as much at threat from suicide bombers as is everybody else. These initiatives are designed to prevent them from succeeding. Its very simple, there are the mass muderers and the normal people, you have to identify yourself strongly with the general population who are under threat instead of constantly diverting attention from the very real threat to them by focusing on profiling and the backlash against muslims. Thats insular and rather selfish, isnt it?

    25. Raul — on 21st August, 2006 at 8:45 pm  

      Arif; please explain this cause of terrorism to me. Since when is it ok to cause atrocities like 9/11 and whats followed purely against civilians because you have a cause. I don’t think any sane person would condone killing civilians whether by terrorists or organized armies. Can you point one action by western armies against civilians that has support of the people. Don’t confuse this with result of army action against other targets, thats quite different from specifically targetting civilians and I dont know any army which has done this. So you don’t have a cause. Do you think western armies killing civilians in Iraq or Israel doing the same in Palestine or Lebanon makes people happy, do you think this has approval of western populations and the world at large. This has never happenend and will never happen, there is something called humanity that rises above religion, yet you the victim, can stand there and justify action purely against civilians. Quite sad really.

    26. Chairwoman — on 21st August, 2006 at 8:54 pm  

      Arif - you are consistantly reasonable, succinct and make real efforts to reach out and find a concensus with those with which you disagree. Thank you.

    27. Kismet Hardy — on 21st August, 2006 at 8:57 pm  

      Police profiling has been the bane of my arse all my life.

      Back in my crusty dready days, they stopped me cos I looked like a drug dealer.

      Then I tried dressing normal and grew a crap beard and they thought I was a terrorist

      Now I’m back to being a tramp but I’m Asian so I get stopped anyway. Thank god bombers don’t carry stuff up their arse that’s all I can say

    28. Kismet Hardy — on 21st August, 2006 at 9:37 pm  

      Raul: “Can you point one action by western armies against civilians that has support of the people.”

      Yeah, I don’t anyone who supports the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan…

    29. Sunny — on 21st August, 2006 at 9:42 pm  

      The question is not about profiling but about fanatical mass murderers and what you are going to do about it

      Raul - what do you propose we do about it? If the bloody intelligence service have a hard enough time tracking them, you think we know more? This is an absurd question. Yes, no one wants to get blown up, including Muslims. But the terrorists aren’t going around advertising what they’re upto.

      I’m more concerned about the ordinary people who are now all being treated with suspicion on the basis of a few murderers. You’ve fallen straight into the trap they have laid out for you.

      Jagdeep - This was more a rant than an article and I felt like swearing at him. It doesn’t detract from my argument. Feel free to disagree.

    30. Raul — on 21st August, 2006 at 10:32 pm  

      Sunny what about the thousands or more of people who are threatened by these murderers, what do you propose we do about that. Should they just be indifferent, do they have no right to be concerned, to formulate a response.

      Kismet: I am glad the Taliban is gone, and I would imagine any civilized person would feel the same, that was a barbaric regime that should not have existed in the first place. I don’t think you can speak for the Afghans nor can I but I would presume at least the women will be happy with them gone. But you missed my point, the Americans didn’t attack Afghan civilians, thats not why they went to Afghanistan, as is the case in Iraq. They are not targetting civilians, they first targeted the Saddam regime and now the terrorists. Nobody will support them, absolutely nobody, if they targeted civilians and I am sure like me a lot of people don’t support the action in Iraq in the first place for n number of reasons. I wonder where all these terrorist, insurgents, freedom fighter were when Saddam was oppressing his people and why they are missing in regimes like Saudi Arabia, Iran or don’t muslims like freedom, democracy. I am sure they do but at the moment islam is driven by most regressive, primitive and medieval mindets that ever existed. All religions have the potential to degenerate into this, it just so happens Islam has. What are the moderates going to do about this.

    31. Sunny — on 21st August, 2006 at 11:12 pm  

      What are the moderates going to do about this.

      I think an internet petition would be a great idea! What about you?

    32. Kismet Hardy — on 21st August, 2006 at 11:18 pm  

      Raul: ‘I am glad the Taliban is gone, and I would imagine any civilized person would feel the same’

      Yeah. shame they’ve been replaced by barons in league with the military elite to revive the opium industry that the Taliban deemed un-islamic, so much so that one in eight people in afghanistan are now forced to grow poppies or risk their children being sold to the sex trade or, um, forced to work in the poppy fields

      And so what a few civilians persished for that priviledge…

      Nice one

    33. Kismet Hardy — on 21st August, 2006 at 11:21 pm  

      Re: your “Americans didn’t attack Afghan civilians” point

      Israel didn’t attack Lebanese civilians either

      What was the hizbollocks lot think they were doing attacking soldiers?

      Tut tut

    34. Sharifa — on 22nd August, 2006 at 2:57 am  


      What are the moderates going to do about it?

      What are the blacks going to do about the high numbers of police statistics that apparently say more black men commit crime than other groups?

      I have been mostly following the Monica Ali saga and the useful comments from picklars on whether one community represents all voices, etc etc. Was wondering whether we forget these wise words when applied to war on terror.

      When we ask moderates in Isam to do a restraining job on the terrorists ( Al-Q etc) do we assume they have a devine link because they happen to share a same religion?

      We’ve been discussing police profiling and the merits of stop and search in the sodding 1980s and how all black people were tarnished with the same criminal brush and we deemed that was not sensible.

      Well let’s stop assuming Islamic moderates have any influence over crazy terrorists any more than the average Tom, Dick and Harry does.

      When Zionists go mad we don ‘t assume all Jewish people are cabable of restraining the religeous zealots. Otherwise we would be branded anti-semites. Or otherwise we would be asking Tony Blair to call on all British Jews to use their influence in Israel - many Jews do not have this devine link any more than British Muslims do.

      When Christain religious fundos go mad in America we don’t call on George Bush , Tony Blair to restrain them because they have a connection with them.

      If we think Muslim moderates are capable of influencing Islamic terrorists, let’s broaden the responsibility out to all religious groups who commit atrocities in the name of religion.

      Whether Islam should be having an internal dialogue on the finer reformist tentancies of its religion - sure, let’s do it - but this is different from saying Islam needs to reform because it needs to deal with crazo suicide bombers. Sadam Hussein doesn’t represent Islam and neither do US/Brit position in Iraq or Afghanistan represent the cause of democracy. If we believe this we are silly, as silly as assuming Hamas or Hiz0Bullah aren’t democreatically elected. Point is we can call on islam or democracy to justify whatever our strategic priorities might be. Before anyone shouts and no, Hamas isn’t democratically elected or Hiz-Bullah isn’t part of the democratically elected Lebanese govt - stop. They are democratically elected, it’s just that we don’t like some aspects of what they stand for, in case of Hiz-Bullah, yes, spawned out of the previous Israeli occupation of Lebanon in the 1980s, and now happens to enjoy a client-relationship to Iran the same as Israel and US in the Middle East. Point is they are democratic but don’t share the same end goals as other democratically elected govts. Which points to the real problem. Can’t pick and choose when we support democratic processes and when we don’t.. ref. French in Algeria.

      The war on terror is fuelled by perceptions of Islamic radicals on the inequalites on the geo-politics in the Middle East - their solution is to go ape shit and destroy. This is where voices of moderation (from all religions and secularists) depart.

    35. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd August, 2006 at 4:02 am  

      A moderate tackling an extremist is like a hippy waving a daffodil in the face of a chelsea headhunter

    36. Sharifa — on 22nd August, 2006 at 4:48 am  


      well said. I would agree that the real clash of civilisations is between the hippies and the head-hunters. Under head hunters I would also class war-mongers.

    37. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 22nd August, 2006 at 6:13 am  


      I think the most important point that should be made is that more often than not these extremist are already convinced that Muslims are in a state of jahiliyah as pointed out by one of their theological god fathers sayid qutb. For them having a “moderate Muslim” (I hate to use that term) are deviants if not out right disbelievers. When you consider their theology of tawheed ul haikimiyah than most Muslims are disbelievers according to them. The only thing Muslims can do really is to educate Muslims who are more susceptible to their ideology. And yes it is an ideology.

      I will come back with an interesting expirement that has been done in Yemen by some of the ulema there by theologically defeating some of the takfiris that have ended up in Yemeni prisons. As I understand it, what ended up happening was the ulema set out to confront these takfiris on a theological basis- daleel for daleel.

    38. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd August, 2006 at 7:03 am  

      bikhair you sure use some alarming arabic

    39. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd August, 2006 at 7:11 am  

      Sharifa, If I may direct you to the daffodil waving chelsea headhunter cuddling prophet mozza, who put it so succinctly when he pleaded:

      Jury, youve heard every word
      But before you decide
      Would you look into those mother-me eyes
      I love you for you my love, you my love
      I love you just for you, my love
      Dont blame
      The sweet and tender hooligan, hooligan
      Because hell never, never do it again
      In the midst of life we are in death etcetra

      Although it’s probably reads better in Arabic

    40. Kulvinder — on 22nd August, 2006 at 7:51 am  

      The point of profiling is not to catch suspects– but to speed up the queues by eliminating people that are definitely not suspects.

      If –as experience at UK airports last week suggests- we cannot have blanket security, then security will be targeted to an extent.

      What you choose to call this policy and whether it is explicit or not is moot.

      I was under the impression all passengers (on transatlantic flights at least) had to be searched?

    41. Sharifa — on 22nd August, 2006 at 8:26 am  


      My knowledge on Arabic is limited.

      Extremists do commit crimes in the name of a religion but often they have gone so far down their ideology to a path of no return , like a cult, no way of dragging back.

      I wouldn’t be able to education Osma bin Laden and his followers whoever they may be, they are probably more educated than I am - both on the scriptures, the motives of US imperialism and on the tactics of fooling police profiling, too, probably.

      The point is that I have nothing to say to extreminists, or they to me, just because we share the same religion is about as coincidental to me as you and I sharing the same language to communicate in.

      But as co-citizens we can all work towards a better work - I was just making the point that Muslims shouldn’t bear more responsibility for mad extreminists. That attitude is in the same vein as generalising and stereotyping.

    42. Roger — on 22nd August, 2006 at 8:30 am  

      “This also just in from SM: A Muslim doctor over in the US (along with several of his colleagues) was thrown off a domestic flight after one of the passengers panicked when the doctor was reciting his evening prayers:”

      It’s when the pilot starts praying you’ve got to really worry…

      Actually, profiling is something we all do consciously or not- with someone walking towards us, motorists, shop asistants… anyone. If it were likely that it would find people who were more likely to be carrying bombs on ‘plabes or tubes profiling would be fine. I don’t think it is- the number of people carrying bombs is so small that any profiling except definite identity would be absurd.

    43. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd August, 2006 at 9:04 am  

      “the number of people carrying bombs is so small”

      You got that right. How many of those arrested, shot and humiliated of late were carrying bombs again?

      Zero, if we’re going to be precise.

      That small enough for you?

    44. Roger — on 22nd August, 2006 at 9:21 am  

      Not quite zero, actually.
      Richard Reid. There have been others who- it is alleged- had had bombs that failed to go off. Nonetheless it wasn’t profiling that caught them.

    45. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd August, 2006 at 9:40 am  

      Kinda what I meant, but I roger that

    46. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd August, 2006 at 9:40 am  

      (the alleged part)

    47. Francis Sedgemore — on 22nd August, 2006 at 10:08 am  

      He, let me start off by saying, is an idiot.

      Hardly an auspicious start to the debate you wish for. Please, Sunny, raise your game. Rants and insults have their place, but surely not in a “debate”.

      As for passenger profiling, I agree with Tarique Ghaffur, and am very uncomfortable with the idea. It might catch a few terrorists, but it is a fundamentally flawed concept, and the arguments why this is so do not need repeating. Profiling will end up being more trouble than it’s worth.

    48. Leon — on 22nd August, 2006 at 10:28 am

      “A British Muslim airline pilot yesterday described the “humiliating” moment when he was hauled off a transatlantic flight just before take-off.

      Amar Ashraf, 28, who was born in Wrexham, North Wales, said he felt ” demoralised and humiliated” after being told to leave the flight from Manchester to Newark by a stewardess, and then being questioned by armed police. He believes his removal was down to having a “Muslim-sounding name”.”

    49. Sharifa — on 22nd August, 2006 at 10:39 am  

      Some easy jet type ariline threw a peace activist off the plane in NYC because she wore a T-shirt which read no war please in English an Arabic. They didn’t like the Arabic on the T-Shirt.

    50. saurav — on 22nd August, 2006 at 10:41 am  

      According to this story in the New York Times today, the US is a much better place to be a Pakistani than the UK.

      Any journalist worth his salt would recognize that the aforementioned article is shoddy at best. First of all, it extrapolates on the basis of talking to a few people in Chicago what the entire community in Chicago is like. Second, it extrapolates from Chicago and some “experts” what the entire Pakistani community is like. Neat trick, but not exactly asymptotically nearing “truth.”

      Finally, it ignores that the U.S. government has systematically uprooted Pakistani immigrants in mass numbers over the past few years through various policies. If you don’t know what Special Registration is, learn about it now. We had Pakistanis (sometimes with U.S. citizen children in tow) fleeing New York to go to Canada in the dead of winter. Of course the Pakistanis left in the U.S. are better off-they’re the ones that weren’t deported or driven away through five years of anti-Muslim law-enforcement and immigration policy in the U.S.!

      Saying that things are “better” in the United States than in the UK is like saying that the war in Afghanistan is going “better” than the war in Iraq. It serves a purpose, but not one that’s all that useful to me. Moreover, it has absolutely no relevance to a comment that the UK’s political climate on anti-terror issues is coming to resemble the U.S.’s-which it seems to be from the standpoint of this U.S. observer in reading your comments.

    51. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd August, 2006 at 11:15 am  

      I’m with you tasneem

      The day I first heard the word Islamist, I knew we waz in trouble

      Once they destroy Islamists the way they destroyed communists, wonder what their next target will be?

      Gayist? Vegetarianist?

      Watch this spacist

    52. sonia — on 22nd August, 2006 at 11:17 am  

      all this profiling business sounds like a witch-hunt pure and simple. Looks like we never evolved much from the Salem days eh?

      “Ooh you could be a witch. Well if you’re won’t mind coming with me whilst you check it out..”

    53. sonia — on 22nd August, 2006 at 11:21 am  

      53 - yep Kismet. :-)

      Oh yes of course the other thing that came to mind was the ‘House of Un-American Activities Committee’..

      Well we know people like witch-hunts, it seems to appeal to our basest instincts. like why people went to watch ‘stonings’ and hangings in the old day. Yeuch.

    54. Bert Preast — on 22nd August, 2006 at 11:29 am  

      “Is it any wonder that while Alan Gordon mentions profiling of football hooligans (yeah right)”

      Um, in the late 80s I was a tattooed English skinhead and every time I tried to travel anywhere I was pulled aside and asked where, why and for how long I was going. Then I was searched, then allowed to continue. Even on my honeymoon.

      No biggie.

    55. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd August, 2006 at 12:05 pm  



      I always wonder about, and the irony of the following description doesn’t escape me, people like you

      You know all the Paki bashers (not suggesting you were one, but I’m hoping you knew a few) of yesteryear did when they hung up their bovver boots?

      Do you reckon they mellowed, accepted or, by and large, are they thinking: ‘See what happenned since we turned soft…’

      Seriously fascinated

    56. Old Pickler — on 22nd August, 2006 at 12:06 pm  

      Thank god bombers don’t carry stuff up their arse that’s all I can say

      Rectum, please.

      (Rectum? Blew ‘im to bits.)

      They’re going to profile anyway, whether they admit it or not.

      It’s a question of risk. Not all 17 year old male drivers are dangerous boy racers, but generally they are more likely to cause an accident than 55 year olds, so all pay higher insurance premiums.

    57. Arif — on 22nd August, 2006 at 12:06 pm  

      Hello Raul, just to respond to your post to me #25:

      I take it as given that killing civilians is wrong. I would also not want to injure civilians or threaten to harm them. I also would not want to kill soldiers and would not support hurting them either.

      Some people support some of these things in some contexts, usually putting it in a narrative where they argue that the action is in self-defence, retaliation or a deterrent. The narrative may be part of the cause. Ideologies are also a likely part of the cause. Psychological problems may be part of the cause. Rational incentives may be part of the cause. Emotional motivations may be part of the cause. Religious interpretation may be part of the cause. Perceptions of injustice may be part of the cause. Nationalist or similar pride may be part of the cause.

      For me this is the more profound part of politics than how to shepherd people into safe cages. So I would like people to be able to discuss these causes with one another to replace them with something better. In order to do this constructively, I think it has to be taken as given that we want to get rid of terrorism and other kinds of political violence.

    58. Bert Preast — on 22nd August, 2006 at 12:25 pm  

      Kismet - Sorry, I just looked like a skinhead. I was a soldier at the time so didn’t have much of a choice. I indulged in a little hooliganism I admit, but it was football rather than racism. Probably only because in Southampton then there weren’t any other races to fight with apart from Skates.

      I do know a Paki-basher though and he has indeed done a lot of mellowing. I think it’s hard to get motivated to go out looking for Pakis to bash when you get through a quarter of skunk a day… I still wouldn’t want to wind up on his wrong side, mind.

    59. Jagdeep — on 22nd August, 2006 at 12:56 pm  

      Bert, some things have changed for the worse, some things have changed for the better. In amongst all the nasty things that have changed, one thing that has changed for the better is that old school Paki bashing doesnt happen anymore, because if your skunked up Paki bashing mate got it in his head to try some of that again, he would get his head pulped by a generation of ‘Pakis’ who just dont take that shit any more in the way their parents and grandparents used to. Pakis bite back these days. And I don’t just mean Pakistani Pakis, but Indian ‘Pakis’ too.

      Personally, I have fantasies of kicking the shit out of a middle aged Paki basher to pay him back for all the hurt he caused as a racist youth. Or maybe I’d sell him some skunk laced with a high dose of bad LSD or strychnine of something. Hahahaha.

    60. Bert Preast — on 22nd August, 2006 at 1:03 pm  

      Jagdeep - He’s done plenty of LSD and strychnine too. There really is little probability that any attack on him involving drugs will even be noticed.

      He’s from Kent - I’m not sure if there were many Asians around his area back then, presumably there were enough. It’s hard to be sure if he’s even racist - he uses racist terms and whinges about them but on the other hand he hates everyone, including himself, and reserves the worst of his bile for “suits”, or the middle class. All round he’s not a very nice person. But you can’t choose your friends, eh?

    61. Jagdeep — on 22nd August, 2006 at 1:06 pm  

      Wow - he sounds like a bundle of laughs Bert!

    62. Bert Preast — on 22nd August, 2006 at 1:13 pm  

      For my money we have the rave culture to thank for a large part of his mellowing, and others like him. In the old days he would have attacked anyone suspected of being a druggie but once he got into it there was no stopping the man. Britain was an outrageously violent place before some bright sparks got the lads to try this ‘ere pill and have a bit of a dance.

      All hail Todd Terry.

    63. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd August, 2006 at 1:26 pm  

      I’m so with you on that one. I still remember the elation I felt when the grafitti in my tunnel that read ‘peckys out’ for years was replaced by ‘grooverider awesome super dooper hardcore provider’

      I hugged my first northern council estate thug at raindance and he hugged his first southern darkie

      changed many a life

      and when the terraces started taking in pills instead of beer, well, I made some money

    64. Bert Preast — on 22nd August, 2006 at 1:34 pm  

      Well I think it’s going a bit far to say that rave culture bridged the north/south gap…

    65. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd August, 2006 at 1:42 pm  

      we did have better raves down here (does wales count as south, I think the drugs damaged my geography somewhat). we ruled essex! slipmat for president. oi oi. it was them lot oop there that bought in the guns and dealers whoi actually wanted to make money

      So… you’re right

      But it did bring Britain closer

    66. Bert Preast — on 22nd August, 2006 at 1:46 pm  

      When it all went tits up in England, being a sensible type I moved to Spain just as it was catching on. Slipmatt, Rat Pack, Carl Cox, they all followed me.

      Still, I bet Essex was lovely in the mid nineties?

    67. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd August, 2006 at 2:08 pm  

      I have to be gay and say early 90s. I was a braintree lad in them days (prodigy ahoy). I’ve kissed carl cox fully on the lips. Oh now I’ve gone all twatty nostalgic. Really thought we waz changing the world :-(

    68. AsifB — on 22nd August, 2006 at 2:14 pm  

      Asif/Bert - You’re both onto something big with the youth culture/e angle. (Though up to the early 80s, it took old fashioned solidarity and bravery to physically limit the space in which violent racists used to operate/intimidate)

      Don’t be afraid of the North though dudes. Sure small ex one-industry towns dominated by insular monocultures like Oldham aren’t happy places - but it is limited economic opportunities that allow chauvinism, racism and fundamentalism to fester, not a northern mindset. Go into Manchester or any other big Northern city centre and racism is a lot less respectable than it was 20 years ago. Of course there is a long way to go (parts of Leeds and west yorkshire particularly) - but the Manchester media especially has more than pulled its weight - just look how far the likes of the Coogan/Aherne/Michael Winterbottom crowd go to show they have left the likes of Bernard Manning behind.

      Not being Pakistani or a cricket fan, I have never quite bothered to fathom the meaning behind Peter Kay’s character in Max and Paddy’s road to nowhere, wearing a Pakistan cricket shirt (and sparking off a hundred thousand bonus sales) - but I can’t help feeling its a good sign of sorts

    69. Bert Preast — on 22nd August, 2006 at 2:33 pm  


      Prodigy still play out here in Malaga. But they’ll never reach the heights of the above track or “Your love” again.

      And we did change the world for a while. Even I was optimistic back then. So how the hell have we ended up with bloody chavs?

    70. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd August, 2006 at 4:07 pm  

      Your Love

      You just made me cry

      Oh the fields of hardcore fluff

      I was adored once too, as Sir Andrew Aguecheek said to Sir Toby Belch while nursing a comedown

      (sorry about the shakespeare, feeling melodramatic)

    71. Roger — on 22nd August, 2006 at 5:43 pm  

      “A British Muslim airline pilot yesterday described the “humiliating” moment when he was hauled off a transatlantic flight just before take-off.”

      It could have been worse- what if it was just after take-off? Or if he’d been flying the ‘plane?
      I would be much more worried about flying with people as deranged as these passengers.

    72. Bert Preast — on 22nd August, 2006 at 5:50 pm  

      If I cannot cover your niece, I am a foul way out.

    73. Bert Preast — on 22nd August, 2006 at 5:51 pm  

      um, sorry Roger.

    74. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd August, 2006 at 6:52 pm  

      that just cracked me up!

    75. Raul — on 22nd August, 2006 at 8:29 pm  

      Sunny, the least the moderates could do is stop tallking about root causes and islamophobia, and join the rest of the world is formulating a robust response to a sick minset. That’s not happened yet, that what makes terrorism more dangerous that it actually is.

      Islamophobia exists, and will always exist in the same way racism exists, let’s not mix things up, this is generic to different cultures, the need to feel superior, South Asians in western societies have a strange attitude to local populations as far as morality and their misplaced and farcical sense of ‘cultural superiority’ is concerned, I am sure most of you know there is an extreme sense of moral superiorty basic in these communicties, and which is an inherent part of their identity but I woudn’t know how far this can apply to the younger generations. The idea that western people somehow are valuelesss and women are immoral, that strand sort of thinking exists in a very real way, there is a very real discrimination even within these communities, that’s a load of racism there, Asian girl in love with a black man, it’s still going to create a ruckus. So the issues are quite distinct.

    76. Sunny — on 22nd August, 2006 at 11:05 pm  

      stop tallking about root causes and islamophobia, and join the rest of the world is formulating a robust response to a sick minset.

      How can you put together a robust response without looking at root causes?

    77. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 23rd August, 2006 at 12:12 am  


      What a strange life “root causes” live. Its trisexual. If you are of one political persuasion, if the root causes are poverty, racism or alienation, then you had better keep the debate on that. If, on the other hand Islam is the root cause of terrorism, then you had better keep the debate on that. If you believe it is foreign policy, then you will debate that. No one arguing against debating root causes of Muslim terrorism, the issue is what each group has chosen to be the “root causes” of such terrorism.

    78. Rowshan — on 23rd August, 2006 at 5:03 am  

      If we don’t go into root causes we may as well accept the BNP logic that England is for white people and blacks don’t belong and have no right to be here. No history, No empire. That would be a simple argument.

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