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Sam Harris, “Profile the Muslim Looking People!”

Sam Harris continues the absurdist act that he has something intelligent to say when it comes to topics other than Neuroscience. We also learn that he possesses a 9mm, and travels with 75 rounds of ammunition, if the religion-bashing industry doesn’t work out maybe he can be the new spokesman for the NRA?

In a recent blog post, the pop Atheist guru writes that “we” should specifically profile Muslims at airports, and “be honest about it.” He is sick of the “tyranny of fairness” in which airport security searches people randomly when we all know that it’s the “Mooslims” who want to kill everyone on the plane. He concedes that he hasn’t “had to endure the experience of being continually profiled…”, and that he would find it “frustrating” if he had, but if someone looks like they may commit a crime (based on their ethnic appearance), they should be targeted for extra scrutiny.He uses the comedian Ben Stiller’s appearance as an example:

“But if someone who looked vaguely like Ben Stiller were wanted for crimes against humanity, I would understand if I turned a few heads at the airport. However, if I were forced to wait in line behind a sham search of everyone else, I would surely resent this additional theft of my time.”

Attempting to speak on behalf of the very people he wants profiled, he implies that Muslims should “welcome” profiling, at the very least it would “save them time!”

He goes on;

We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it.

Maybe Sam will want Muslims to wear crescent and star badges so as to be identified as “Muslim?” By saying “conceivably be Muslim” Sam is really saying any Brown, Middle Eastern or South Asian looking person, perhaps someone with a turban?

In a very poor attempt to soften the racialist tone, he adds this caveat;

And, again, I wouldn’t put someone who looks like me entirely outside the bull’s-eye (after all, what would Adam Gadahn look like if he cleaned himself up?)… (emphasis added)

As with most advocates of procedures that single out specific people for harassment, Sam Harris himself doesn’t have to experience the frustration that comes from this harassment. It’s easy to say, “Muslims should just cooperate and make it easier on themselves and everybody else” when one doesn’t have to experience such situations, multiple times, themselves.

He recounts earlier in the blog post an ironic experience he had at the airport whereby he “accidentally” smuggled nearly 75 rounds of ammunition past the inspectors, while a three-year old was momentarily taken from her family so that her sandals could be inspected.

I once accidentally used a bag for carry-on in which I had once stored a handgun—and passed through three airport checkpoints with nearly 75 rounds of 9 mm ammunition.

Question: What the hell is Sam Harris doing with 75 rounds of ammunition?

As of today (May 1st), he has added an addendum to his blog, complaining that some people didn’t take too kindly to his simply presenting the “facts” as he sees them. One of those basic “facts” is;

“…that, in the year 2012, suicidal terrorism is overwhelmingly a Muslim phenomenon. If you grant this, it follows that applying equal scrutiny to Mennonites would be a dangerous waste of time.”

He must have not read the report which stated that only 6% of terrorist acts committed in the United States from 1980-2005 years were committed by Muslims, and that even in 2012 an American is more likely to get struck by lightning than to be killed/hurt by a Muslim terrorist.

He goes on;

“1. When I speak of profiling “Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim,” I am not narrowly focused on people with dark skin. In fact, I included myself in the description of the type of person I think should be profiled (twice). To say that ethnicity, gender, age, nationality, dress, traveling companions, behavior in the terminal, and other outward appearances offer no indication of a person’s beliefs or terrorist potential is either quite crazy or totally dishonest.”

Well that’s a sigh of relief! It’s not “just” dark-skinned Muslims that he wants to be profiled, but all Muslims! What universalistic spirit!

It has already been established that the more “Muslim” a person looks at the airport, the less likely they are to attempt anything violent on the plane. It simply would make no sense for a person to raise a thousand red flags in the minds of airport security, before they even board the plane. The entire point of a terrorist is to accomplish their goal, not to raise the suspicions of everyone around them before they get the chance to do so.

Since the stereotypical image of a Muslim in the minds of many is that of a “dark-skinned man of the Orient,” Muslim profiling is for all practical purposes racial profiling.

Juan Cole wrote about this on his blog nearly a year ago, when two Muslim clerics were forced to exit a plane because the pilot refused to fly if they were still on board;

“The terrorist costume is a simulated reality, circulated in Hollywood and countless news broadcasts, that evokes a causal relation between appearance and action. The terrorist costume is familiar to nearly all Americans: a thick beard, an ashen robe, brown skin, sandals holding dirty feet, and some sort of headgear, usually a turban (Sikh style, of course). The terrorist wearing this costume often sports a Qu’ran, so the audience can be certain that he is a Muslim.

Yet the acts of terrorism that have been committed by radicals of Muslim heritage involved perpetrators, like Mohamed Atta, who didn’t at all resemble the image of the Hollywood terrorist. Rahman and Zaghloul dressed in a way that set off alarms in some of their American co-passengers because the latter entertained Orientalist fantasies. Ironically, Muslim-American clerics are among the more law-abiding people in the country.”

Harris’s pro-profiling views are not shocking to anyone who knows his history of loonieness. Harris after all is the same unprincipled and bigoted individual, who has, as Bob Pitt noted;

backed Geert Wilders, joined the hysterical campaign against the so-called Ground Zero mosque and claimed that “the people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists.”

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  • Orwellianisms

    Profiling = Stereotyping.

    Profiling is just a PC euphemism of the squeamish.

    Is stereotyping, really a logical defence strategy?

  • Black Infidel

    @Jd: US, UK and Israel actually funding Saudi Arabia? Are those the only countries funding them or there is more? If so, which countries?

    Speaking of Saudi Arabia, the islamophobes claim that Saudi Arabia owns 8% of FoxNews. Is it true or more islamophobe bullshite?

  • Black Infidel,

    Yes, I think that is a fair assumption. They certainly mess it all up for the rest of us a lot! Do you know how long it takes to get a Hajj visa for example, mostly because the Saudis allocate themselves the lion’s share of places for Hajj? Or their butchered ‘translation’ of the Quran being so wildly distributed that it is swamping decent translations of it? Their over zealous funding of their ‘brand’ of how they think people should think backed by petro-dollars? There are a lot of things for Muslims to be annoyed at Saudi for!

  • Black Infidel

    @Jack Cope: More Muslims hate Saudi Arabia than a lot of people thinks?

  • Believing Atheist


    O’Neill may have backtracked due to political pressure but we have documents that show that Bush planned a pre-meditated Iraq attack.

    A SECRET blueprint for US global domination reveals that President Bush and his cabinet were planning a premeditated attack on Iraq to secure ‘regime change’ even before he took power in January 2001.
    The blueprint, uncovered by the Sunday Herald, for the creation of a ‘global Pax Americana’ was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice- president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld’s deputy), George W Bush’s younger brother Jeb and Lewis Libby (Cheney’s chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding America’s Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century, was written in September 2000 by the neo-conservative think-tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC).
    The plan shows Bush’s cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power. It says: ‘The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.’
    The PNAC document supports a ‘blueprint for maintaining global US pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests’.
    This ‘American grand strategy’ must be advanced for ‘as far into the future as possible’, the report says. It also calls for the US to ‘fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars’ as a ‘core mission’.

    I think the Glaspie quote needs to be read in full context i.e., the exchange between Saddam and Glaspie. Saddam says before hand he plans on invading Kuwait to Glaspie, and Glaspie shrugs it off saying we “have no opinion on your Arab conflicts.”

    Saddam Hussein – If we could keep the whole of the Shatt al Arab – our strategic goal in our war with Iran – we will make concessions (to the Kuwaitis). But, if we are forced to choose between keeping half of the Shatt and the whole of Iraq (i.e., in Saddam s view, including Kuwait ) then we will give up all of the Shatt to defend our claims on Kuwait to keep the whole of Iraq in the shape we wish it to be. (pause) What is the United States’ opinion on this?

    U.S. Ambassador Glaspie – We have no opinion on your Arab – Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary (of State James) Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960’s, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America. (Saddam smiles)

    Even journalists accused her of giving Saddam tacit approval

    “But they were not a popular mass movement in the old days. 50 years ago most arabs were into secular arab nationalism, not islamism.”

    Oh okay so you are talking about popular mass movements. Well in that case Islamism has failed i.e., it is a failed ideology in the ME. It has only been successful in two countries. I say this because:

    “With the exception of Iran and Saudi Arabia, the modern states in the Middle East are not founded on Islamic law. They owe their existence to a combination of European colonial policies and secular Arab nationalist ideology. The majority have a written constitution and are organized around the non-Islamic principle of division of power among distinct agencies.”

  • Peter

    @Believing Atheist
    “Peter I believe you have misrepresented my views”

    That was not my intention and i appreciate your civility.

    “Paul O’Neill disagrees. “The Bush administration began planning to use U.S. troops to invade Iraq within days after the former Texas governor entered the White House”

    Well, according to Wikipedia “O’Neill later backtracked, saying that these discussions were part of a continuation of foreign policy first put into place by the Clinton administration.”

    Remember, there used to be lot of talk in the alternative media about Bush’s “plans for attacking Iran” and nothing happened.
    The matter of fact is, the US Military always has a set of plans for military strikes on foreign enemies.
    That doesn’t prove that the president has an actual schedule for these operations.

    “April Glaspie may not have known that Saddam was going to invade, but she didn’t care either as her quote that I provided reflects.”

    I think it is a quite a leap to interpret “we don’t care about your territorial disputes” as “we don’t care if you invade and annexate the whole country”
    Furthermore, Saddams foreign secretary Tareq Aziz denied that the Iraqi regime thought they had a green light.
    Het told PBS in an interview that “There were no mixed signals. We should not forget that the whole period before August 2 witnessed a negative American policy towards Iraq. So it would be quite foolish to think that, if we go to Kuwait, then America would like that.”
    “About the meeting with April Glaspie–it was a routine meeting. There was nothing extraordinary in it. She didn’t say anything extraordinary beyond what any professional diplomat would say without previous instructions from his government.(..) So, what she said were routine, classical comments on what the president was asking her to convey to President Bush. He wanted her to carry a message to George Bush–not to receive a message through her from Washington.”

    “Not really. The revival of Islamism goes back before the 20th century.”

    But they were not a popular mass movement in the old days. 50 years ago most arabs were into secular arab nationalism, not islamism. But don’t believe me, read Wikipedia:
    “Islamic revival (Arabic: as-Sahwah l-Islāmiyyah, “Islamic awakening”) refers to a revival of the Islamic religion throughout the Islamic world, that began roughly sometime in 1970s and is manifested in greater religious piety and in a growing adoption of Islamic culture, dress, terminology, separation of the sexes, speech and media censorship, and values by Muslims.”

  • @JD

    While that maybe important if true, I’m not sure we should trust 60minutes now.

    We See Your Deception CBS! Wallace EDITS to Hide Ahmadinejad’s Words.

  • JD

    O’Neill: Bush planned Iraq invasion before 9/11

    The Bush administration began planning to use U.S. troops to invade Iraq within days after the former Texas governor entered the White House three years ago, former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill told CBS News’ 60 Minutes.


    YOu can try re write history but that not going to work

  • Daniel

    @believing atheist–

    Don’t forget the Philippian insurrection which involved Muslims (as well as Catholics). This was before WW I. Not sure if that should count though.

    And as LW pointed out, that involved some US war crimes.

  • Believing Atheist


    Peter I believe you have misrepresented my views on somethings and made some inaccurate statements.

    “I do not believe that he wanted to start a war from the beginning”

    Paul O’Neill disagrees. “The Bush administration began planning to use U.S. troops to invade Iraq within days after the former Texas governor entered the White House three years ago, former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill told CBS News’ 60 Minutes.”

    April Glaspie may not have known that Saddam was going to invade, but she didn’t care either as her quote that I provided reflects. It’s basically like me saying I will look the other way if you beat your neighbor but I am not telling you to beat your neighbor.

    Now all you have to do is look at Iraq before the invasion and after the invasion.
    “Iraq under Saddam Hussein was very secular and, as a consequence, there was far more freedom for women and non-Muslims than in most other Arab Muslim nations. In contrast to the religiously authoritarian direction which Iraq has taken under the American occupation, though, such secularism is a difficult target for criticism for religious conservatives who otherwise treat secular governments as inspired by the Antichrist. Indeed, it’s not unusual to see religious conservatives complaining about events in Iraqi politics that they might otherwise praise in American politics.”

    This doesn’t mean that Saddam wasn’t a brutal tyrant and mass murderer he was. But Iraq was relatively safer, pluralistic and more tolerant for religious minorities under his rule than after his rule.

    “Anyway, my point was that the middle east is a violent place and will continue to be so in the near feature, whether through sectarian strife or violent suppression by the ruling class. You can see it happen in Egypt right now, after the strongman was overthrown.”

    That is a correct point. We just don’t need to get our hands dirty and bloody in that region. Someone else (like you mentioned China or Russia) can if they want to. It costs way too much money and lives to police and monitor

    You say: I think the reason is actually that the revival of Islamism is a relatively recent phenomenon.

    Not really. The revival of Islamism goes back before the 20th century. Read its history here:

    For instance, The Wahhabi Islamism is rooted in the instructions of Muhammad ‘Abd al-Wahhab’ (1703–92).

    Regarding Russia, you might want to read this article by Fareed Zakaria. It details how Russia created its own Muslim terrorism problem.,9171,2044732,00.html

    However, I believe the answer to your specific assertion can be addressed by looking at the groups the Russian govt has banned. Many are foreign Muslim entities, that are creating strife in the region

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