This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at

The Enemy Within (and the Need for Profiling) by Dr. Daniel Pipes - How extra scrutiny of Muslims makes us all safer

August 16, 2006

The Enemy Within and the Need for Profiling

by Daniel Pipes
New York Post
January 24, 2003

The day after 9/11, Texas police arrested two Indian Muslim men riding a train and carrying about $5,000 in cash, black hair dye and boxcutters like those used to hijack four planes just one day earlier.

[The police held the pair initially on immigration charges (their U.S. visas had expired); when further inquiry turned up credit card fraud, that kept them longer in detention. But law enforcement's real interest, of course, had to do with their possible connections to Al-Qaeda.]

To investigate this matter - and here our information comes from one of the two, Ayub Ali Khan, after he was released - the authorities put them through some pretty rough treatment.

Khan says the interrogation "terrorized" him. [He recounts how "Five to six men would pull me in different directions very roughly as they asked rapid-fire questions. . . . Then suddenly they would brutally throw me against the wall." They also asked him political questions: had he, for example, "ever discussed the situation in Palestine with friends?"]

Eventually exonerated of connections to terrorism and freed from jail, Khan is - not surprisingly - bitter about his experience, saying that he and his traveling partner were singled out on the basis of profiling. This is self-evidently correct: Had Khan not been a Muslim, the police would have had little interest in him and his boxcutters.

Khan's tribulation brings to attention the single-most delicate and agonizing issue in prosecuting the War on Terror. Does singling out Muslims for additional scrutiny serve a purpose? And if so, is it legally and morally acceptable?

In reply to the first question - yes, enhanced scrutiny of Muslims makes good sense, for several reasons:

These circumstances - and this is the unpleasant part - point to the imperative of focusing on Muslims. There is no escaping the unfortunate fact that Muslim government employees in law enforcement, the military and the diplomatic corps need to be watched for connections to terrorism, as do Muslim chaplains in prisons and the armed forces. Muslim visitors and immigrants must undergo additional background checks. Mosques require a scrutiny beyond that applied to churches and temples.

Singling out a class of persons by their religion feels wrong, if not downright un-American, prompting the question: Even if useful, should such scrutiny be permitted?

If Americans want to protect themselves from Islamist terrorism, they must temporarily give higher priority to security concerns than to civil-libertarian sensitivities.

Preventing Islamists from inflicting further damage implies the regrettable step of focusing on Muslims. Not to do so is an invitation to further terrorism.

This solemn reality suggests four thoughts:

First, as Khan's experience shows, Muslims are already subjected to added scrutiny; the time has come for politicians to catch up to reality and formally acknowledge what are now quasi-clandestine practices. Doing so places these issues in the public arena, where they can openly be debated.

Second, because having to focus heightened attention on Muslims is inherently so unpleasant, it needs to be conducted with utmost care and tact, remembering, above all, that seven out of eight Muslims are not Islamists, and fewer still are connected to terrorism.

Third, this is an emergency measure that should end with the War on Terror's end.

Finally, innocent Muslims who must endure added surveillance can console themselves with the knowledge that their security, too, is enhanced by these steps.

Arrests and Convictions

Following is a partial listing of those arrested in the United States in connection to militant Islamic terrorism:

There have also been two major arrests connected to rogue states.

In addition, there has been at least one conviction:

This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at