The security call to profile and screen Muslims
The ignorance displayed by those who are demanding 'separate lines' for Muslims at airports is really quite astonishing. They appear to think that Muslims may be discerned by appearance; that it is straightforward racial profiling; that all Muslims will look like Mohammed Atta - the stereotypical Middle-Eastern type, though he would have made it easier if he'd had a beard in the style of Richard Reid.
Like Christianity (and Atheism), Islam is a missionary faith: it seeks converts irrespective of ethnicity. Conversion requires internalisation of the new belief system, which implies a new reference point for one's self identity and is a matter of belief and social structure — of both faith and affiliation. There are no absolute rules on dress or appearance. Unlike for orthodox Sikhs, the beard is not sacred: Muslims may worship Allah and be faithful to the teachings of Mohammed and still use a Gillette G2 Contour. The Islamist terrorist in our midst can be as anonymous and undiscernible as the paedophile who lives next door. And the more consumed they are by their depravity, the more dedicated they are to their perversion, and the more skilful they become in concealing the stench of corruption that is at their heart.
So let us put aside the childish 'anti-Muslim' backlash, for it is as irrational as tarnishing all Roman Catholics with the depraved thinking of the murderous IRA. But let us at the same time not be afraid to demand that the law of the land be applied to all equally, and that must include Muslims. Women wearing burkas should not be accorded security privileges denied to the rest: where security is concerned, where lives are at risk, there should be no exemptions to the inconveniences which are inherent in the application of the necessary regulations to ensure safety.
Muslims may be black, brown, white or yellow. They may or may not carry a Qur'an or a prayer mat; they may or may not sport a beard. And only a minuscule percentage of British Muslims hold to the 'extremist' Wahhabi or Salafi interpretation of Islam: it is as representative of Islam as the Jehovah's witnesses are of Christianity.
So let us remind ourselves that all religions have their sects and cults, some dangerous, some not; and that what we face is a Branch Davidian sect of Islam which seeks to undermine the peace and security of the Realm. If we have learned anything from the centuries of religious bloodshed which have defined our nation, it must surely be that religious prejudice is spiritually destructive and, ultimately, politically unsustainable.