July 15, 2005

All They're Doing Is Taking You At Your Word...

Today's tip: if you like to rap about destroying America, don't expect to keep a sensitive job in our air-transport system:

HOUSTON -- When Bassam Khalaf raps, he's the Arabic Assassin. His unreleased CD, "Terror Alert," includes rhymes about flying a plane into a building and descriptions of himself as a "crazy, suicidal Arabic ... equipped with bombs."

Until last week, Khalaf also worked as a baggage screener at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

"I've been screening your bags for the past six months, and you don't even know it," said Khalaf, who also said Thursday that he is not really a terrorist and that his rhymes are exaggerations meant to gain publicity.

Of course not - he would prefer the term 'freedom fighter.' What, exactly, did the TSA use as their justification for firing him?

An Internet search of Khalaf's name brings up Web sites that feature his obscene, violent and misogynistic raps that threaten to fly a plane into a building on Sept. 11, 2005.

Khalaf, 21, was hired on Jan. 16 and fired July 7, according to a TSA termination letter that cited his "authorship of songs which applaud the efforts of the terrorists on September 11th, encourage and warn of future acts of terrorism by you, discuss at length and in grave and alarming detail various criminal acts you intend to commit, state your belief that the U.S. government should be overthrown, and finally warn that others will die on September 11, 2005."

His defense? "All my friends are doing it:"

Khalaf said his terrorist-themed rhymes are more about marketing. He called his songs art and pointed to other rappers who have rhymed about terrorism. He specifically cites Eminem's song, "My Dad's Gone Crazy," which discusses blowing everything on the map up except Afghanistan and says: "There's no tower too high, no plane that I can't learn how to fly."

And I imagine if Mr. Mathers applied for a baggage-handling job, he might have a little trouble with the background check too.

"Controversy sells," Khalaf said. "It brings a lot of attention. Everybody wants to label all Arabics terrorists just because a couple of people messed up. Well, I'm going to play along with that character. I'm going to let you think I'm one."
Mission accomplished, bud. And be careful what you wish for.

Posted by Chris at July 15, 2005 04:03 PM

Category: Unclear On The Concept
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