Friday, August 11, 2006

Racial profiling-a tool against terror.

Following the mass murders of September 11th, many who questioned or condemned the practice of racial profiling in the United States would agree that it is a necessary tool for police and internal security agencies to maintain public safety. Such profiling is also followed in the United Kingdom, which has just foiled a radical muslim group plotting to blow up transatlantic flights in mid air using liquid explosives.

In the United States, the term "racial profiling" has often been paired with accusations of racial discrimination against blacks and Hispanics, particularly by police. It is one type of racially biased policing.

Crime cuts through all races. However, what is yet to be acknowledged is the international generalizability of the race/crime relationship.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) believes that racial profiling is as flawed an approach to the war on terrorism as it was to the war on drugs. But the present American administration has embraced this approach in order to defeat terrorism and in the wake of 9/11 this is understandable and most Americans would accept it.

Racial profiling takes different forms. On March 10, when Dubai Ports World announced that will acquire from Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. which operates some US ports, the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee quickly moved to block the acquisition. This is a far-reaching reaction which some people considered as xenophobic. Many others felt that since two of the 9/11 hijackers were from the UAE, Dubai Ports World should not operate any US port.

After 9/11, U.S. authorities incarcerated and questioned people based on their Arabic nationalities and Islamic religion. While the vast majority of Arabs and muslims do not support terror, racial profiling does cause inconvenience to them due to the terror unleashed by a small minority of fanatical groups who are bent on wreaking havoc . Hence whatever action that is necessary has to be taken to ensure public safety.

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