June 28, 2003


In an event previously unknown in the history of modern airtravel, a person has been searched at an airport:

The spiritual leader of Australia's Muslim community was subjected to a "humiliating" search by customs officials at Sydney airport this week, his spokesman said today.

He had cleared customs when, waiting at the baggage carousel with a travelling companion, he was taken by a customs official to have his bags comprehensively searched.

I can’t find a single case of this ever happening before. Google turns up nothing, no matter what combination of words I use. Has anyone else heard of this mysterious “airport security” deal?

Posted by Tim Blair at June 28, 2003 07:35 PM

I thought I was being serched by security once....turned out to be a pervert in a blue shirt and pants....

Posted by: Jake D at June 28, 2003 at 07:49 PM

When I saw "Mufti Probed" I had hoped to read about a cavity search. Maybe next time.

Posted by: ZsaZsa at June 28, 2003 at 08:11 PM

customs officer: Good morning sir, can we check your bags?

Mufti: aiyyeee, infidel dogs. I will have 1000 camels tear you apart, monkeys shall feast from your eyes

customs officer: Sir, can we check your bags?

Mufti: spit from a jackal, do you know who I am? I shall have you flogged, vultures will soundly peck you.

customs officer: I guess thats a no eh?

Posted by: nic at June 28, 2003 at 09:01 PM

Egads! Another example of the rampant illegal cultural stereotyping conducted by Customs and other nefarious shadowy "coal-face" protectors of Australia.

These shadowy bastards use COMPUTERS to see who is arriving/departing, and assess their noteworthiness on clearly racially defined parameters.

God only knows, but their archetypical stereotyping of arriving/departing passengers might be something as blatantly racist as:-

(1) Is arrivee/departee a member of any sort of organisation that, as Amrosi would say, is intended to kill white people?

(2) Is the arrivee/departee of the Mahommedan faith?

(3) Is the arrivee/departee the subject of a current or previous investigation/charge/ conviction with respect to a criminal offence?

(4) Is the arrivee/departee constituting a threat with reference to their port of origin, if such port of origin is considered a threat to security?

It is appalling that such cultural stereotypes are applied (and, might I add, in flagrant disregard to the Racial Discrimination legislation) by the Customs and other officials.

I for one would feel comfortable if this racial stereotyping were immediately outlawed, and the Powers That Be were only allowed to search say one in eighty arrivee/depatees, on a purely random basis, and not upon a threat scenario basis.

In this fasion, we will not upset any Mahommedans travelling to and from this free and great country, which will be for the common good.

Posted by: Thorn at June 28, 2003 at 09:26 PM

Sorry, it's MUSLIMS, not MAHOMMEDANS. Sorry, sorry, I can't apologise enough to those who may have been offended by my choice of words. Sorry.

Posted by: Thorn at June 28, 2003 at 10:16 PM

I just posted an item on my site regarding this- I used to run the "Sierra" team of Customs at Brisbane airport, and it details why he would have been spun. (It is noteworthy that unlike previous administrations, the PM supported their effort, rather than organising a bastinado for the vermin who dared to perform their job and actually search someone who was on the protected species list).

Posted by: paul bickford at June 28, 2003 at 11:40 PM

Whens the last time your bags got searched Tim?

Posted by: Tom at June 29, 2003 at 12:27 AM

We have such an "airport security" system here in the states, but it only applies to television celebrities, blind soul musicians, former vice presidents, and elderly women.

They wouldn't dare subject someone of Middle Eastern descent to such scrutiny -- unless he was on the president's secret service detail or something. People get sued over things like that.

Posted by: Bill Herbert at June 29, 2003 at 01:14 AM

No! There are never any searches conducted at airports in English-speaking countries. Absolutely not! It is impossible!

Posted by: Baghdad Bob at June 29, 2003 at 01:15 AM

Tom: last time my bags were searched was at Sydney airport after returning from LA last year. They'd also been searched in LA prior to boarding.

On the previous US flight, I got the "take off your shoes" treatment. Maybe I should shave off this damn floor-length beard or something ...

Posted by: tim at June 29, 2003 at 01:19 AM

I had my bag searched and got questioned about my background and current living situation when I returned from Japan in '99.

On my recent trip to USA I got my shoes x-rayed and my bags searched at all but one stop.

Posted by: Tex at June 29, 2003 at 01:51 AM

I get my bags searched every time I fly. Many airport security guards find it necessary to investigate why I would carry 8 packs of playing cards with me, and like to make sure it's not a paper bomb.

Posted by: Yobbo at June 29, 2003 at 02:19 AM


You must be some sort of sneaky zionist hoping to overthrow half the middle east if you're taking 8 packs of cards with you.

The Palestinian "root causes" people would probably have you believe that the humiliation of having to go through airport security causes airline hijackings.

Posted by: Andjam at June 29, 2003 at 02:51 AM

I got searched going through LAX five days ago. They went through bloody everything (including my toothpaste). Since they were all Hispanic descent employees of US Customs I can only assume they had some kind of racist vendetta aginst me.

Posted by: AndyM at June 29, 2003 at 03:47 AM

Explain the cards, Yobbo!

Posted by: tim at June 29, 2003 at 04:08 AM

I like to practice counting 8 deck shoes in the event that I will one day have enough money to gamble to make some money out of it. Helps waste time on the flight though.

Once they tried to make me watch "Rabbit Proof Fence" on the plane. I was glad I had my cards.

Posted by: Yobbo at June 29, 2003 at 05:10 AM

Some lady with a Russian accent at Kingsford-Smith looked through my soft luggage before I checked it in for the flight home. Didn't seem all that humiliating to me.

Posted by: Bashir Gemayel at June 29, 2003 at 07:53 AM

paul bickford

I haven't been able to access your site for months.

Posted by: Gary at June 29, 2003 at 10:40 AM

I'm a little surprised that "fleshlike gelati exoskeleton" didn't return some kind of match for Michael Jackson.

Posted by: TribeHasSpoken at June 29, 2003 at 11:15 AM

I got my car searched coming from Windsor, Canada to Detroit, Michigan. It may have had something to to with being 1AM, me having a long beard, wearing a floppy cowboy hat, driving a '90 Chevy Beretta. It also may have had something to do with what I declared. When asked, I said, "I don't know, I haven't been to Canada in years. What do I have to declare?" Ans. Anything you bought in Canada. Me: "16 packages of All-Dressed potato chips and a moose." Don't know if it was the chips (a gift for my brother who no longer lives in Canada and can't get them) or the moose.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at June 29, 2003 at 12:46 PM

Damn I wish I'd had cards the time they showed Titanic. It was on a flight from Miami to Los Angeles. I'm not sure how I refrained from killing anyone.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 29, 2003 at 12:50 PM

Jorg -- was the moose for dipping?

Posted by: tim at June 29, 2003 at 01:15 PM

When, oh when, are we going to be rid of this hate-spewing little twerp.

Last time he was 'targeted' it was for driving an unregistered vehicle with a piece of plastic protruding from one of the windows - but some racist bigot cop had the nerve to pull him over and ticket him.

Obvious discrimination by white racist fascists against a peaceful person of the Muslim faith going about his business ..... I'm surprised he hasnt dragged them in front of the discrimination board.

Posted by: dee at June 29, 2003 at 03:42 PM

I don't think it was plastic, Dee. I seem to recall it being sheet metal.

Posted by: Steve Edwards at June 30, 2003 at 04:14 AM

I got the standard shoes-off,through-the-metal-detector-and-on-your-way routine last two times (one in Newark, one in Miami). It all seemed pretty efficient to me; everyone was treated the same and the queue wasn't too bad either. I dunno what all the fuss is about. Gatwick, OTOH, was a joke. I don't think I saw more than two Customs people the whole time, and no-one was being searched (which was good, because I was about 400% over the risible duty-free allowance you get).

Only time I had my bags searched in my life was returning from a vacation in Colombia to Costa Rica, which is understandable. Fotunately the false bottom in my suitcase is very hard to detect.

Posted by: David Gillies at June 30, 2003 at 04:15 AM

Broome to Perth -- got the "shoes off for X-raying" bit. Well, they were actually well-worn, heavy, hiking boots -- and it was a stinking hot day -- and I told 'em they'd regret making me take them off ... and they did. Regret it, I mean.

Posted by: BruceT at June 30, 2003 at 12:45 PM

Gotta love Google.

"Did you mean: catfish goldnplump" ?

Posted by: RJT at July 1, 2003 at 05:33 AM

I have probed a few muftis in my day. All kinds of muftis. But I have to say bald muftis are my favorite.

Posted by: D2D at July 1, 2003 at 08:33 PM