Bray's initial statement about the incident had an all-American, see-you-in-court ring. He demanded "large financial compensation for the imams," adding, "We want US Airways and any other airline displaying this type of behavior against Muslims to be hit where it hurts, the pocketbook."
Support for such legislation is expected from Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, though he has not yet come out with a statement.
The report echoed statements made by the imams themselves. Omar Shahin, their spokesman, has portrayed the incident in a way that's consistent with a lawsuit and a public relations offensive. He's called for a Jesse Jackson-style boycott of US Airways, and applied classic civil-rights rhetoric to the incident: "This is prejudice; this is obvious discrimination," the Star Tribune quoted him as saying. "I cannot change the color of my skin," he told Newsweek.
But the report on the Iranian website, which has appeared on a variety of Muslim websites worldwide, had a larger primary focus. After the imams incident, it quoted Bray as saying Muslims want "new, broad-sweeping legislation that will extract even larger financial and civil penalties for any airline that participates in racial and religious profiling."
As noted in Congressman Conyers and Islam, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan has come out with an End Racial Profiling Act, which--though it claims to be aimed at helping all minorities--makes a special point of 'protecting' Muslims--in spite of the fact that
- Many incidents of anti-Muslim reported by CAIR have been demonstrated to be bogus
- For 2005 the FBI report on bias attacks indicates that 68.5 were anti-Jewish while only 11.1 were anti-Islamic
- From 2004 to 2004 the FBI reports show that incidents of anti-Muslim bias have gone down.
Kersten describes what limitations the Conyer's bill would impose, and then assesses the effect:
"A law that would compel security professionals to focus on keeping their statistics within certain norms rather than on their mission keeping airline travel safe would have a devastating effect on our ability to ensure airline safety," said Daniel Horan of the Los Angeles Police Department in an interview. He worked at the Los Angeles airport on profiling-related issues for 6 years.In the conclusion to her article, Kersten looks at the confluence of events that have re-energized Conyer's bill:
Will the Democratic leadership participate in this?
The End of Racial Profiling Act has languished until now. What did it need to reinvigorate it? New congressional leadership, and that's coming in January. But it needed something else in this media age: a high-profile incident to jump-start it.
What better than the media circus at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Nov. 20?
Instapundit suggests not:
I suspect that the Democrats won't be willing to hop on this bandwagon, as it would make them look weak on terrorism. Once again, though, the absence of major attacks since 9/11 is causing a rise in complacency that some people see as an opportunity.He may be right. But then again, that has not stopped Democrats from recommending withdrawal from Iraq. In this instance, there is a criticism of Bush wrapped within the protection of individual rights. What is to stop the Democrats as a group to go for this?
Update: Soccer Dad points out the Memeorandum is tracking this story