US group warns against racial profiling
Profiling is counterproductive: security experts
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has appealed to airline crews and security personnel to avoid the ethnic and religious profiling that may be triggered by the Christmas Day attempt to detonate a bomb on a Northwest Airlines flight, CAIR’s National Communications Director told Al Arabiya on Wednesday.
“Racial and religious profiling labels an entire religion and alienates the very people we need to reach out to,” Ibrahim Hooper said.
“This kind of policy is ineffective, counterproductive and it stigmatizes Muslims in America and all over the world.”
Hooper stated that the U.S. is already reporting examples in which passengers were allegedly targeted based solely on their nationality, religion or even appearance.
In Arizona, CAIR reported that two men were removed from a U.S. Airways flight and questioned by the FBI allegedly because they looked "Middle Eastern" and spoke in a foreign language.
And in Michigan, a Nigerian passenger was removed from a flight because other passengers reported he was spending "too much time in the airplane’s bathroom," CAIR reported.
"While everyone supports robust airline security measures, this kind of profiling can lead to a climate of insecurity and fear," said Hooper.
Racial and religious profiling labels an entire religion and alienates the very people we need to reach out to
CAIR’s National Communications Director, Ibrahim Hooper
Security experts agree
Hooper is not the only one to think profiling is counterproductive. On the Jan. 3 edition of NBC's Meet the Press, Former Bush Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said that "relying on preconceptions or stereotypes is actually kind of misleading, and, arguably, dangerous."
Other national security experts also agree. International security service executive Steve Koenig said, in a Jan. 1 McClatchy News report, that there's no place for racial profiling in a modern society.
And aviation security expert Sheldon Jacobson agreed adding; “we're dealing with a moving target. If we keep chasing the risks that we've already seen, we will ultimately miss the risk that is going to be coming toward us."
In Feb. 2, 2009, The New York Times had already published a report showing the ineffectiveness of profiling. The report’s author, University of Texas computational biologist and computer scientist Dr. William H. Press, was quoted saying: "We have been told that strong profiling will somehow find and siphon off the worst offenders and we'll be safe. It's not true. The math does not support that."
But despite the experts' protests and supporting proof, a lot of people remain unconvinced because they are simply afraid, argued Hooper.
“It is a kneejerk response, an easy argument to make... and an emotional argument can not lend itself to intellectual debate,” Hoooper concluded.
It is a kneejerk response, an easy argument to make. And an emotional argument can not lend itself to intellectual debate