Patterico's Pontifications

8/13/2006

Sometimes Terrorists Look Like Terrorists

Filed under: General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 10:43 pm



This morning on “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace asked Michael Chertoff about whether the government might consider doing a limited form of profiling. Chertoff said:

[T]he terrorists themselves focus on using people who do not look like our ordinary conception of terrorists precisely in order to get around our security. So if we become too focused on a particular profile, we’re likely to be dropping our guard precisely where the terrorists are going to be acting next.

This is, of course, always possible. However, let me remind you of some of the names of the folks arrested in connection with the most recent terror plot. See if any of them sound like “our ordinary conception of terrorists”:

Umir Hussain, 24, London E14

Muhammed Usman Saddique, 24, London E17

Waheed Zaman, 22, London E17

Assan Abdullah Khan, 22, London E17

Waseem Kayani, 28, High Wycombe

Waheed Arafat Khan, 24, London E17

Cossor Ali, 24, London E17

Tayib Rauf, 21, Birmingham

Ibrahim Savant, 26, London E17

Osman Adam Khatib, 20, London E17

Shamin Mohammed Uddin, 36, Stoke Newington

Amin Asmin Tariq, 23, London E17

Shazad Khuram Ali, 27, High Wycombe

Tanvir Hussain, 24, London E10

Umar Islam, 28, (born Brian Young) High Wycombe

Assad Sarwar, 25, High Wycombe

Abdullah Ali, 26, London E17

Abdul Muneem Patel, 17, London E5

Nabeel Hussain, 21, Waltham Forest

Mr. Chertoff, these are the names of actual terrorists.

My advice to Michael Chertoff: let’s not become too fixated on this theory that terrorists don’t look like terrorists. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t. I want you to be aware of the possibility they don’t — but I want you to remain aware of the very real possibility that they do.

Please do not sacrifice effective approaches for fighting terror in the name of political correctness.

End of advice. Thanks for listening.

11 Responses to “Sometimes Terrorists Look Like Terrorists”

  1. […] Yesterday, we finally got our new TV hooked up — after two previous abortive weekend attempts in which Direct TV screwed up the work order. We now have a stellar 50 inch picture, and TiVo. Oh, man. It looks like I’m going to be watching more TV now . . . and I hardly watch any TV. But now, when I sleep through Fox News Sunday, I just TiVo it — and next thing you know, I have fodder for a blog post (see the post immediately below this). I’ll never miss Brit Hume again. I can see where a fella could get used to this. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Our Weekend (421107)

  2. Michael Chertoff is not the most impressive member of the Bush administration.

    Chris from Victoria, BC (9824e6)

  3. What do you expect from someone who claimed to be out of the loop on all the FISA warrants which have been issued?

    Trurl (a17873)

  4. To borrow from my schtick when Jeff mentions something like this over at protein wisdom…

    RACIST!!!

    Sean M. (db71f3)

  5. News accounts have two of the arrested plotters as recent converts to Islam. One is Ibrahim Savant, ne Oliver Savant, though I believe he’s of Indian ancestry; I don’t recall the other one. There have been plausible stories of al Qaeda and similar organizations prizing the recruitment of European/Caucasian-looking converts, in an effort to overcome the stereotypical “terrorist look.”

    At the end of the day, Islamist terrorists have deep connections with radical, violent Islamist organizations, be they al Qaeda, Hezbollah, or other groupings (Wahibbi/Salafist/Qutbist/IRGC/etc.). Political correctness ought not blind us to the obvious implications. But Chertoff is right in cautioning against making a one-to-one connection between a South-Asian-look and suspiciousness.

    AMac (b6037f)

  6. I think a lot of converts to Islam take Islamic-sounding (Middle Eastern) names. It seems to me that looking for “Mohammeds” in databases, airline rosters, etc., could be helpful more than looking for “Middle Eastern-looking” people. Look at Bosnia, for example, where many Muslims were blonde-haired and/or blue-eyed.

    sharon (03e82c)

  7. I submit to you that this latest re-run of a 1994 terrorst plot to destroy passenger planes shows the incompetence of Homeland Security. No planning, no thinking, no preparedness. What next, a hurricane hitting two months out of season in late November surprising another Bush appointee?

    Howard Veit (28df94)

  8. How does it show “the incompetence of Homeland Security”? It didn’t happen here.

    sharon (03e82c)

  9. I submit to you that this latest re-run of a 1994 terrorst plot to destroy passenger planes shows the incompetence of Homeland Security

    US DHS is responsible for the goings on in London!!

    Who knew?

    The Ace (8154cd)

  10. […] McClatchy Newspapers leads. “How can terrorists be identified if we are not told what they look like? The terrorists that we know about are bearded dark-skinned men between the ages of 25-40,” a […]

    Sageman and Leaderless Jihad — 3 :: The Sirens Chronicles (54412f)

  11. […] of Muslims,” McClatchy Newspapers leads. “How can terrorists be identified if we are not told what they look like? The terrorists that we know about are bearded dark-skinned men between the ages of 25-40,” a […]

    Sageman on Leaderless Jihad — 3 « Gee Whiz News (ff4094)


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