The indictment of those two Muslim USF students might yet turn out to be the perfect storm of unfortunate coincidence: the wrong foreigners in the wrong place with the wrong itinerary and the wrong car-trunk contents. In short, the wrong post-9/11 time to be clueless, Egyptian knuckleheads crossing state lines with “fireworks.” Nobody, to be sure, wants a Sami Al-Arian, “Jihad U” redux – or worse. More angst for the memories.
But make no mistake. That Berkeley County (SC) sheriff’s deputy did the right thing by doing more than write a speeding ticket for Ahmed Abda Mohamed, the USF engineering graduate student. He and his companion, USF undergrad Yousef Samir Megahed, were without a precise destination, ostensibly looking for cheap gas in the vicinity of the Goose Creek Naval Weapons Station and downright furtive about a laptop. And in the car trunk was apparently something more than sparklers and cherry bombs.
In this civilizational-war era, we’re all asked to pay more attention to anything suspicious.
Law enforcement is on the front lines of homeland security. And, yes, common sense profiling is a legitimate tool, Muslim and ACLU protestations notwithstanding. It can be utilized without being ugly or abusively arbitrary — or turning our police into ethnocentric storm troopers. But we are at war, and it’s with young, male jihadi Islamists with death wishes – ours and theirs.