It doesn’t look like President Donald Trump is going to get his way on his proposed Muslim travel ban. But that hasn’t stopped the President from making the lives of Muslims across the globe a bit more difficult.
Today his administration announced that passengers traveling on non-stop flights to the U.S. from certain airports will be prohibited from taking “large electronics” (laptops, tablets, game consoles, DVD players etc.) with them in hand luggage.
This electronics ban applies to 10 different airports in Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco. All these countries have majority Muslim populations. Coincidence?
Cellphones and medical devices will not be banned, and passengers are still free to take large electronics in their hold luggage.
Administration officials say the ban is in response to intelligence which suggests that terrorists are “aggressively pursuing innovative methods” to smuggle explosive devices onto flights.
Nine airlines will be affected, none of them U.S. carriers, and they have been given 96 hours to comply or risk having their certificates to fly over the U.S. revoked. No information has been given about why each respective airport was selected, or how long the ban will last.
The security services have been worried about a new type of explosive devices on planes for a while. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have supposedly been trying to build bombs with no metal parts for some time, however, there wasn’t enough intelligence to warrant any action. New intelligence uncovered during the botched Yemen raid seems to have contributed to the heightened security measures.
The ban only applies to direct, non-stop flights to the U.S. So if a terrorist really wanted to, they could just fly from one of the airports not on the list. Like many things in the Trump administration, this seems rushed and just a little bit vindictive.
Of course, Trump loves to rant about protecting Americans from foreign enemies, but he doesn’t seem to be doing much to protect us against things we’re more likely to get killed by, such as widely available firearms, lack of access to basic healthcare or trigger-happy cops.