Policy, not profiling

I am disturbed by the insinuations made in Steve Fawcett’s response to Bob Hall’s experience with airline security policy.

Re: “Hall’s choice was his own,” Letters, October 26

I am disturbed by the insinuations made in Steve Fawcett’s response to Bob Hall’s experience with airline security policy.

In his October 18 column, Mr. Hall described how his 68-year-old mother-in-law was denied access to an Air Canada flight out of Castlegar because she arrived at check-in after the boarding deadline. Mr. Fawcett’s rebuttal supported the airline policy as necessary for security reasons.

He suggested that putting a “sweet 68-year-old woman” through security only 18 minutes before departure would put the staff “under merciless pressure to make exceptions” to the time policy in the future.

To illustrate potential problems, Mr. Fawcett  implicitly linked terrorists’ knowledge “that their best chance for getting past an inspection… is to set up a rushed situation,” with the examples of a “68-year-old Muslim woman” or “a young Muslim man” arriving at the airport at times after the 30-minute security deadline. His scenarios insinuate that being Muslim poses an inherent security threat.

Considering his premise further, I wonder how Mr. Fawcett or the airport security team would know the religion of their passengers. This information is not included on passports nor are passengers asked to disclose their religion before a flight.

He makes the assumption that a Muslim is identifiable. Is this by skin colour, manner of dress, language perhaps? This is an endorsement for racial profiling.

Mr. Fawcett drew some unfair and discriminatory conclusions in his letter. It is impossible to see these in print without commenting on the biases they convey.

Maureen Little





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