#IfImOnTheWatchList captures the huge problem with the government's terrorist watch list


Democrats staged an hours-long sit-in on the House floor Wednesday in an attempt to force a vote on two proposed gun control bills. The first bill would expand background checks to gun show and sales online. The second, dubbed the “no fly, no buy” bill, would give the federal government the authority to ban gun sales to suspected terrorists and people on the government’s so-called “terrorist watch list.”

That list has long been criticized for its secrecy, lack of transparency, and alleged racial and religious profiling of Arab-Americans and Muslims. As of 2014, nearly half of the people on the government’s terrorist watch list had no actual ties to terrorism. The Intercept reported in 2014 that under the Obama administration, the number of names on the government’s no-fly list reached an all-time high of 47,000 people. And it’s long been unclear what gets someone gets placed on the watch list. In response to the sit-in, many Twitter commenters voiced their criticism of the bill Democrats were trying to enact into law. They used the hashtag #IfImOnTheWatchList to demonstrate how easy it might be for them (and you) to be placed on the list.

“[T]hese proposals are anything but common sense,” tweeted Zahra Billoo ‏, a Muslim community organizer and civil rights lawyer.

Some highlighted the struggle of being black and Muslim in the U.S.

When a Muslim Mexican-American veteran tweets:

Others suspected being on the watch list and happily embraced the fact:

Some took the sarcastic route to prove the point of the watch list:

The winning tweet goes to this concerned Chicagoan Muslim female:

Alaa Basatneh is a human-rights activist and a writer at Fusion focusing on the Arab world. She is the protagonist of the 2013 documentary “#ChicagoGirl.”

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin