The new pat-down security search is raising some eyebrows among Airports travelers these days, the overwhelmed, underpaid under trained Transportation Security Administration (TSA) staff are making a daily mess of the invasive procedure; last week at Mississippi airport, a TSA agent pulled out the Indian ambassador to the US Meera Shankar and performed on her the ridiculous private search, “because of the way she was dressed” explained TSA agent; she was dressed in her traditional cloth ( a Muslim lookalike maybe). Most passengers don’t mind the TSA body search at airports; USA Today/Gallup poll shows that 78 percent of passengers approve of full body scanners; however 80 percent prefer a scan to a pat-down. Americans seem to accept the privacy violation and public humiliation for their own safety, deep inside they realize that this is mainly targeting the others; the Muslims travelers who want to hurt them. After the tragic of 9/11 attack, Homeland security department in concert with the TSA seem to get out of their way to intimidate Muslims from traveling using airports; FWM; Flying While Muslim is becoming a new traveling violation. No one is more terrified from the pat-down procedure than Muslims. Muslims in general like to keep their private parts very much private and the airport is not the only public place Muslims would TSAy clear off to avoid any display of such indecencies. Public bathrooms also is another place that Muslims generally avoid, unless they absolutely have to, and if they do use public bathrooms, they usually take a refuge in the privacy of toilets instead of urinals. Some Muslims may refuse to go to doctor offices or hospitals for the same reason, indecent exposure or stripping down naked in front of strangers specially of opposite sex or religion. Lots of Muslim men will skip the annual physical exam altogether which it is for me another form of torture and interrogation of Abu Ghraib prison quality. You are stranded naked in a cold windowless small room, trapped with your own frightened thoughts and regrets. The ever tardy doctor comes and interrogates you with probing personal questions, you are forced to talk about bowl and stool movement and to carry on a conversation you don’t even dare to have with your mother “How about exercising” “How about family relationship; any problem” “ what about your sexual relationship”… “ any chronicle depression.” Then the tricky one for any Muslim, “ have you ever contemplating committing suicide?” I usually take the fifth on that one. As a Muslim you never know, this maybe another FBI entrapment poly. Physical exam involves a series of excessive poking and firm touching, which most Muslim find it invasive, especially the mother of all humiliation – the manual colon check that leaves you with a permanent emotional and physical scar. I think doctors get more out of this procedure than medical information especially when they stick it to Muslims. Nothing can prepare you for such brutal treatment; when it is done, your relationship with your doctor gets a little messy. You are always at the mercy of your doctor, your ability to command and control your body is outsourced to your doctor. After it is all don, you leave the doctor office defeated and depressed, much worse than when you came; Muslims general don’t talk about their health, it is a fate, and it is not part of their public conversation, especially when it comes to the annual Physical exam, it is a human rights violation, however there is no one to whom you file a complaint, it is something that as traveling most Muslims avoid now if they can.
Ahmed Tharwat, Public Speaker
Host of the Arab American TV show BelAhdan
Airs On Public TV, Saturdays at 10:30pm
Blogs at: www.ahmediatv.com