Ali Gharib writes: The Mahmood family’s ordeal at Gatwick airport in London, where the Disneyland-bound group of 11 UK citizens was pulled out of the boarding line by American officials and had their tickets cancelled, speaks to more than just the apparent institutional prejudices of the American government’s security measures.
Also laid bare are the paradoxes of the fight over Islamophobia here at home. How can we ask Muslim communities the world over – including in the US – to forcefully reject the extremists among them and, more onerously, reveal themselves as the peace-loving people they are when at the same time we fail to treat them this way at our borders?
After the San Bernardino, California, attack, where armed assailants took the lives of 14 innocent people after reportedly being radicalized, Barack Obama demanded that Muslims take on more responsibility in the ideological fight against terrorists.
There is no, Obama said,
denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. This is a real problem that Muslims must confront, without excuse. Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like [the Islamic State] and al-Qaida promote; to speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect and human dignity.
That’s a nice thought. But how can one ask that of Muslims when one arbitrarily denies them entry to our country on the apparent basis of little more than their religion? Mutual respect and human dignity are not words that spring to mind when considering the recent spate of seemingly arbitrary denials of entry that barred British Muslims seeking to do no more than visit the US. [Continue reading…]