Expert opinions differ on using body scanners for Muslims: SURVEY

Politics Materials 12 January 2010 15:11 (UTC +04:00)
After Nigerian citizen's attempting to bomb a passenger plane flying from Amsterdam to Detroit, a number of European countries intend to introduce so-called "body scanners" at airports.
Expert opinions differ on using body scanners for Muslims: SURVEY

Azerbaijan, Baku, 11 January / Trend , U.Sadikhova /

After Nigerian citizen's attempting to bomb a passenger plane flying from Amsterdam to Detroit, a number of European countries intend to introduce so-called "body scanners" at airports. Each passenger will be required to pass through a scanner for the inspection, where their body on the monitor of the security will be reflected naked.

United Kingdom, Netherlands and Nigeria have already announced the upcoming use of scanners at airports. It is the turn of Germany, France, Italy, the United States.
However, several human rights organizations harshly criticized the decision to introduce "body scanners".  

The organization of disabled people of Germany opposes against Germany's introduction of pre-flight inspection of passengers using the scanners, the correctness of using such scanners to children, as well as Muslims, is also questionable.

The press secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Iran Ramin Mehmanperest said that using  "body scanners" in the U.S. and Europe contradicts humanity and faith of religious people.

- Do you consider that taking such security measures is a violation of the rights of minorities, especially Muslims living in Europe and the United States? If yes, how should this problem be solved?

With this question, Trend correspondents appealed to political analysts and human rights activists for comments.

Bashy Quraishy, Chair-Advisory Council-ENAR - Brussels, Chair-Jewish Muslim Co-operation Platform - Brussels, Senior Advisor - COJEP International- Strasbourg

- In these difficult times of terrorism and the perceived conflict between the so-called Western and the  Islamic civilizations, every act of crime and violence -no matter how small have ramifications. Often the response is quick and in some cases drastic but every country has the right to protect itself from danger of sabotage and lack of security.

I think that random violence and terrorism against civilians is having an effect on the psych of many western governments and they sometimes act in panic. But again, terrorism can not be allowed any where in the world and each government is responsible for the safety of its citizens.

The recent case of a failed attempt to blow up an American plane by a young guy with Nigerian roots has alarm bells ringing.

The introduction of Body Scanners at the airports in US and several European countries is the latest attempt to make sure that terrorists do not board a plane with materials which can be used to destroy it.

This scheme was a long way coming and would be used for every one but only suspicious persons. I have seen only in media as to how it works. While it is true that the scanners can see under clothes, but it is like having Xrays at the hospital. People are not being asked to strip naked but stand in front of this machine. My understanding is that safety of people is very important. All religions talk of peace and Islam is against taking innocent lives. So if a terrorist succeed in taking explosives on board a plane, a person who is religious would also be killed. Safety of life must be paramount.

What I would not like is if only Muslim people are profiled and subjected to scanning. That would be a dangerous road to take and would not bring peace but continue a policy of Islamophobia. Nigerian government has already protested to USA for targeting Nigerians entering

Asma Abdulhamid, an expert on Muslim minorities in Europe

- I believe that sooner or later this decision
will face a problem. The reason is that even if the body is scanned for security purposes, scanning the whole body will cause concern, because the airports already take upped security measures.

Talal Dauvs, Director of the Department for Muslim Minorities of the Organization of the Islamic Conference

- Basically this decision takes a political character. However, it must be taken into account that this method is not introduced in all countries worldwide. I believe that this will lead to anxiety in those countries where such security measures will be taken. But it does not need to forget that this decision is not applied only to Muslims or other religious minorities. This decision is used for security purposes and is referred to all.

Ilgar Ibrahimoglu, Chairman of DEVAMM (Centre for Protection of Freedom of Conscience and Faith) in Azerbaijan

- Today, there are two urgent problems in the world: the first one is the human right, the second -security. Unfortunately, over recent years, human rights restrictions processes are taking place under the pretext of security. In addition, we observe this process in the United States. In my opinion, this is contrary to the values of the United States, which they argue. This was more evident in the period of the Bush's administration, but, unfortunately, since January 2010 Obama's method of dialogue is increasingly leaning toward Bush's. And this is increasingly becoming apparent. I believe that it is also aware in America. Now there are several ways to inspect the safety of citizens, and not all of them consist only of scanners that draw the human body. For certain period, it has also been practiced in Azerbaijan, but it is interesting that if a person does not want, he/she does not pass through this device and is inspected in other ways. I think that people should have a choice and it should not be obligatory, as it is practiced in Azerbaijan.

From the religious point of view, our faith allows to use reasonable measures to protect the human, but the issue at the moment is not rational, so I think that, at least, it should be applied like in Azerbaijan. Each person should have a choice: whether he/she wants to go through this device, or wants to be inspected through other methods.

R.Hafizoglu, T.Jafarov contributed to article.