American efforts to tighten its borders against entry by terrorists made a notable capture the other day when Britain’s International Development Minister, Shahid Malik, England’s first Muslim government minister, was detained at Dulles International Airport for 40 minutes while he was searched and humiliated. His hand luggage was searched for traces of explosives. Mr. Malik was returning from meetings with US officials. Last November, he was detained and searched at John F, Kennedy Airport as he flew to deliver a speech on tracking extremism and defeating terrorism, an event sponsored by the US Homeland Security Department. His comment was: “the abusive attitude I endured las November I forgot and I forgave, but I really do believe that British ministers and parliamentarians should be afforded the same respect and dignity at U.S.A. airports that we would bestow upon our colleagues in the Senate and Congress. Obviously, there was no malice involved, but it has to be said that the U.S.A. system does not inspire confidence.”
Sorry, Mr. Malik, malice was intended. The Bush paranoia about foreign terrorists has made too many people suspicious and acting in demeaning ways toward our guests. Mr. Malik was insulted for one reason — he was a Muslim and to many US officials that automatically means he is a suspicious person.