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Ethnic Profiling Will Not Help National Security
By Ramah Kudaimi
December 02, 2005

Response to editorial in the Glenview Watch

In a response to an editorial published in Glenview Watch criticizing Rep. Mark Kirk’s calls to “discriminate” against Arab males, a reader writes, “You can always use the example of Oklahoma City to show that it's ‘just not fair to profile Arab men.’ But it's not white males who are doing most of the terrorist attacks in the world!”

What the reader fails to differentiate is that establishing ethnic profiling in the United States will not make our nation any safer. If this reader truly cares for the utmost security of this nation, he would demand all citizens be screened everywhere to avoid any and all attacks, no matter the cost and inconvenience. This would be the most effective way to stop all terrorism, weather it be carried out by someone like Timothy McVeigh or Eric Rudolph, or by someone like the 9/11 hijackers. Fortunately this idea would be lauded as ludicrous by most, just like the idea that stopping only all Arabs would end terrorism.

According to the Wikipedia list of terrorist incidents, from 1990 to 2005, there were three terrorist attacks on U.S. soil carried out by individuals Kirk and the reader would not subject to profiling. This includes the Oklahoma City bombing and the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games bombing. One would expect after reading this response that the number of attacks carried out by people of Arab descent would be much greater. Yet during the same time period, there were only three terrorist attacks on American soil carried out by the people they want to profile.

There are more terrorist attacks worldwide during this period, but the only assaults that the United States can stop through ethnic profiling are the ones within its own borders. According to the statistics, Kirk and his supporters are as right to call for profiling of young Arab men during the vise process as they are right to call for profiling of white, 24-35 year-old Catholic men around federal government buildings, abortion clinics and Olympic Games.

“What exactly is wrong with knowing who your enemy is?” the reader continues. Knowing your enemy came into play during WWII, allowing and promoting the internment of 120,000 Japanese in the United States as an effort to protect the nation. In 1988 the U.S. Congress passed legislation which awarded formal payments of $20,000 each to the surviving internees, signaling that Americans realize the grave rights violations its government committed then.

Fortunately for Arabs and Americans, we live in a country in which it is illegal to practice discrimination on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or national origin. Thus the suggestions of Kirk and his supporters can be dismissed for what they truly are: bigoted, un-American attitudes.

Ramah Kudaimi
Communications Intern
CAIR-Chicago


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