Leaked US No-Fly List contains 98% Muslim names

Airport Security
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Leaked by a Swiss hacker, the FBI’s No-Fly List contains 98% Muslim names. The revelations shows the degree to which Muslims continue to be discriminated against as part of post 9/11 ‘counter-terror’ measures.

A new report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) looks at the implications of what many have long suspected. The FBI has treated innocent Muslims as an enemy, profiling them indiscriminately as potential terrorists.

UK terror expert Dr Rizwaan Sabir tweeted that the leak showed how Islamophobia has driven state security policy:

Secret FBI Watchlist

CAIR’s new report, titled ‘Twenty Years Too Many: A Call To Stop the FBI’s Secret Watchlist’, is withering in its assessment of the list:

For now over twenty years, the FBI has detained, surveilled, harassed, and destroyed the lives of innocent Muslims. The public record amply documents how these abuses, inflicted via always-expanding FBI powers, led not to a reduction in terrorism, but painful, farcical, and often dangerous abuses of Muslims.

The Council listed various indignities and abuses suffered by Muslims since 2001. These included everything from pat-downs of babies and handcuffing mothers and fathers at gunpoint in front of their children, to interrogations and house raids.

The authors said:

All of this injustice comes from a list. This list goes by various names—the terrorist watchlist, the Terrorism Screening Database, or as the FBI recently rebranded it, the Terrorism Screening Dataset. The No-Fly List is equally famous, but rather than an actual list, the No Fly List is simply a designation some people on the watchlist get, singling them out for the additional punishment of being unable to fly.

Punishing the innocent

For CAIR, the leak has confirmed what they have long-suspected. It is arbitrary and an authoritarian assault on innocent people:

It has long been clear to the Muslim community itself that the FBI’s list is nothing more than a list of innocent Muslims.

Referencing far-right extremism, the authors pointed out the blatant discrimination in the makeup of the list:

The consequences of being on the FBI’s list are borne almost exclusively by Muslims, and even individuals who openly espouse political violence generally do not find themselves similarly targeted so long as they themselves are not Muslim.

The Council studied nearly 1.5mn names on the list. 98% of them were Muslim names:

We estimate that more than 1.47 million of those entries regard Muslims—over 98 percent of the total.

Second-class citizens

There have been no good outcomes of the War on Terror. Signally, the wholesale destruction wreaked upon Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and elsewhere are devastating consequences. Guantanamo is another key example.

But there are quieter forms of violence too. The FBI’s racist watchlist is one of these. Indeed, it has made second class citizens of Muslims – and left millions of innocent people alienated and unsafe.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Micheal Ball, cropped to 1910 x 1000, licenced under CC0 1.0

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