Airport security needs to focus on suspicious, not ethnic, appearance

Last summer, my cousin Hamid decided to come visit all his relatives in America. He flew from Iran to New York and planned to take a flight from there to San Francisco, where my father would pick him up.However when he got to New York, instead of being welcomed, he was taken into a private room and questioned by airport police for hours on end. He later told my dad that he was asked the same questions over and over again.

“Why are you here?”

“What are the names of all your relatives?”

“Where will you be staying?”

Terrorism has become a much scarier word for Americans since 9/11. We are so scared of another attack that our security system has become over the top.

Every time I go to the airport I am always searched more than others. I am always the one “random” person who has to go through the super high-tech X-ray scanner. This always happens because of my last name, Fazeli, and because I am half Iranian.

I am not a terrorist and neither is my cousin. Hamid hadn’t done anything wrong; he was taken into custody because he was a single male traveling from Iran. What could he have done without  weapons? You can’t take over a whole plane of people with your bare hands.

Security in airports needs to be more about people who look suspicious, like wearing all black and hiding under a hood, rather than people who look ethnic. If security weren’t so racist we wouldn’t have so many innocents being criminalized. A terrorist could just as easily come from France as from Iran.

Airport lines would become so much shorter if security was lessened just a little. But people are thinking of making it even more complex and harder to get through.

On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, people were thinking a lot about it and are again fearing more attacks. No one would have an excuse to use terrorism to scare Americans if we didn’t still have our troops in a bunch of countries, especially in the Middle East.

My cousin never got to come see us. Eventually, they finished questioning him and sent him back to Iran, and he was never refunded for his useless one-day trip.

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