A lot of themes that I blog about come together in this story. A scholar from London, Ontario was flying from Quebec City to Milwaukee last month to speak at an interfaith conference. He was stopped in Detroit, admitted to a Customs and Border Protection agent he was on his way to give a lecture on Islam, and was detained and questioned for what he says was 4 hours. According to C-News/Sun Media,
Let's unpack what's going on here a little:
- Giving a lecture on Islam can be enough to qualify you for detention.
- Flying exposes you to U.S.-government mandated interference with your freedoms.
- Racial (and religious) profiling is a recipe for false positives.
- The operatives entrusted with acting out this "security" theater are ignorant bigots with apparently no purposeful training whatsoever.
- Canadians suffer particularly onerous distortions of their expectations of free travel, coming from a diverse and sensible country which happens to border an increasingly paranoid superpower.
- Torture serves not only to break the individual subjected to it, but also to intimidate and isolate persons who know it can happen. El-Kassem's first thought was Mahar Arar.