What is ethnic profiling?
Ethnic or racial profiling refers to government activity directed at a suspect or a group of suspects because of their race. When acts of terrorism are carried out and as a part of investigations it is concluded that the prime suspects belonged to a particular race, the people of that race have to undergo additional security checks because of their ethnicity and religion. As the threat is coming from a single group, they are singled out for further questioning.
Today, the ethnic profiling of Arabs and Muslims after September 11, is fueling Muslim rage and is shredding the tolerant culture to bits. It is enraging and alienating everyone in that group and in the long run is only radicalizing more and more of Muslim community. It is alienating the Muslim community in the fight against terrorism, when they could be helpful in combating terrorism.
Many reasons could be given for the impotance of ethnic profiling as an investigative tool against terrorism but the fact is that ethnic profiling is not only bad it is deadly. Taking action against someone solely because of their race or religion reeks of prejudice. It is the expression of racial hatred in the name of security. The question arises that ‘ will stopping men of Asian and Middle Eastern origin stop terrorism? ‘ Are we not vesting the sins of the guilty on the innocents?
Ethnic profiling is counter effective as it is stereotyping people just because the prime suspects of terrorism belonged to a certain race. Are acts of terrorism only limited to a particular religion? Aren’t terrorist found all over the world and belong to different races too? Some one rightly said that ethnic profiling is basically a descent in the minds of the terrorists themselves. Don’t terrorists think that all Americans are ‘ infidels ‘. This very mindset is causing them to commit mass murder and not allowing them to think what they are doing to real people.
If ethnic profiling must be done, then do it in a way to inspire co-operation and not fear. Handle it with care and respect. Single out people based on their behaviour and not their race. Do not let it cause a greater division.