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Terrorist Profiling Crosses Racial Barriers

June 15, 2002

Regarding racial profiling, my compliments to the watchful eyes of Southwest Airlines. This is the first time since my trips from Heathrow Airport in London to the U.S. that I have experienced such professionally executed security checks. Yes, I was the "chosen one"--a white woman (not girl), well dressed, with all my credentials, returning from a full day at our Capitol in Sacramento in meetings with some of our Assembly members and state senators, and a congressional reception that was given for us. We were representatives of the Public Policy Committee for the Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles Assn. of Realtors.

We went through the regular check, received our boarding passes and were about to board the plane when a security officer randomly chose to reinspect me. My first reaction was shock, but then I was pleased at their tenacity and told them so. They kept apologizing, but I told them that their care for our safety made me feel secure. I was thanked so much for not being angry and told them that in no way did I take offense, and I thanked them. I realized that choosing someone who all thought was the least likely candidate to be a terrorist was done with real insight.

Regardless of their choice, be grateful. Who knows what a terrorist can really look like? Better to be safe than sorry. Congratulations, Southwest Airlines.

Sandra Deel

Los Angeles

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It should be noted to Michael Ramirez that in the days of the kings, such as the one in his June 11 editorial cartoon "Cinderella," the king would hold complete power and could wield it unilaterally. Often kings were referred to as being more sacred than their citizens. Is Ramirez advocating that we award the government such powers?

Besides the blatant difference between being asked to try on a shoe because you're white and being arrested or harassed because you're not, Ramirez's anachronistic inclusion of the civil rights lawyer only hurts his argument by highlighting the liberal standpoint of how far we've come, and how far we have yet to go.

John R. Singleton

Los Angeles

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This country is at war--a war initiated by Muslim extremists who have vowed to destroy us. While most Muslims are not terrorists, all terrorists in this case are Muslims. Recognizing that, racial or religious profiling is a necessary evil. While some innocents may suffer as a result, it is far better that this occur rather than experiencing a repeat of the Sept. 11 World Trade Center horror.

The arrest of Jose Padilla, who changed his name to Abdullah al Muhajir, should serve as a frightening reminder of the catastrophe facing all of us as a result of Muslim fanaticism ("U.S. Citizen Accused of Planning an Attack Using a 'Dirty' Bomb," June 11).

Racial profiling at its worst is practiced by Muslim and Arab radicals who label all Christians, Jews and Americans as infidels deserving of death. Now that is racial profiling. Until moderate Muslims take a more aggressive stance in condemning Al Qaeda and the jihad, we have no alternative but to suspect them of support and possible complicity. Our civil liberties are not at stake. Our survival is.

Marvin Haas

Banning

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