Former London
Police Chief Lord Stevens poses the question: “”I’m a white, 62-year-old, suit-wearing ex-cop — I
fly often, but do I really fit the profile of a suicide
bomber?”

The same question could be asked
by an Anglo-Australian former army officer from Adelaide or the brother of a supermodel
formerly married to a French tennis star. Yet one languishes at Guantanamo Bay while the other is in the custody of
UK
police.

Peter Faris suggested we fight
terrorism by profiling Muslims. How? Look at their names? Fares is a common
Arabic name. I’ve known Aussie Muslims with the name Fares originating from:
Malaysia, Bosnia, Pakistan, Lebanon and Egypt.

Shall we look at appearance? Does
Dean Jones have a point? Most terror suspects have beards. So does Peter Fares.
As American stand-up comic Azhar Usman says: “If I really was planning a terrorist attack, why would I
wear this long beard? It doesn’t exactly keep me below the
radar!”

Do we look to ethnicity?
Ethno-religious profiling might work in the UK, where
Muslims are mostly from two or three ethnic groups. But in Australia, Muslims come from over 60
different nationalities.

Do we introduce ID cards
identifying a person’s religion as a way of catching converts? Conversion to
Islam simply involves recitation of one sentence in Arabic. No witnesses are
required. I know people who first converted on internet chat channels. There’s
no central Islamic church, and no registration system for converts. Perhaps
someone should develop technology that enables ID cards to pick up secret
conversions.

And why stop at Muslims? 20 years
ago, a pregnant Irish non-Muslim woman walked onto an El Al flight at Heathrow Airport carrying a bag containing a bomb.
During questioning, the woman said her Arab boyfriend packed her bags.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote in the New Yorker
in February: “Muslims are not like the Amish:
they don’t come dressed in identifiable costumes.”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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