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[] Iris-Scan der Hajj-Pilger,

Muslims Feel Sept. 11 Chill as Mecca Plays It Safe

JIDDA, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 4 — As the hajj pilgrimage season gets under way,
the Saudis are seeking security in the blink of an eye.

Up to 1.5 million pilgrims are descending on the kingdom for the largest
annual mass migration of people on the planet — and the Saudis have begun
collecting personal data from these Muslim visitors to start a system for
tracking and identifying them.

Bleary-eyed travelers, many of whom have disembarked from the first plane
ride of their lives, are randomly chosen at Passport Control to have their
eyes digitally scanned by an American security company. In an adjoining
entry hall, a French fingerprinting firm that does work for the United
States Postal Service and the New York Police Department digitally scans
index fingers. Its motto: "Security at your fingertips."

The official explanation for the new security procedures is that they are an
immigration tool aimed at preventing pilgrims from overstaying their visas
and settling down in the kingdom — the eye scans and fingerprints are
matched when they leave to make sure they are who they claim to be. But
there is another purpose as well. At times the hajj has been a place of
political mobilization as well as prayer, and in the wake of Sept. 11, the
Saudi government is eager to try new ways to identify potential security

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Quelle: New York Times, English, 5. Februar 2002

Beste Grüße
Michel Emming

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