Based on the increased incidents of global terrorism and considering that a majority of the suspects are formed the Middle East, is the profiling of Middle Eastern justified? The 9/11 bombing attacks of the Twin Towers in New York served as a wakeup call to us to enhance airport security. The airline industry needs to be protected from possible attacks by terrorists. We need to protect innocent citizens against uncalled for deaths at the hands of Islamic extremists.
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It is important to note that the 19 highjackers of the planes that bombed the Twin Towers were between the age of 18 and 23 years, and were from the Middle East (Siggins para. 6). In situations whereby high security is important, such as at the airport, Middle Eastern profiling would be justified.
Therefore, additional searching for a Middle Eastern male at the airport, for example, is an attempt to protect Americans. In case the young is not in any way linked to terrorism he will be not be retained at the airport and will continue with his flight. On the other hand, if we do not subject the extra search on him and he is armed with explosives, we may end up losing innocent lives.
However, we should be careful not to label all Muslims as terrorists. Muslims are law-abiding citizens, and as such, they differ from Islamic extremists who are more concerned with gaining power and in the process, dominate the world (Pipes para. 3). The 9/11 attacks were not the first time that we were attacked by Islamists.
Muslim male extremists kidnapped and massacred athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972. Back in July 1980, an Iranian dissident was killed in Washington, DC (Pipes para. 1). In 1990, Islamic Extremists claimed responsibility for the death in Tucson of an Egyptian Islamic freethinker. In November 1990, Rabbi Meir Kahane was assassinated in New York. In January 1993, some CIA personnel were assaulted outside the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia. In the ensuing fracas, two of them died.
In March 1994, a van was shot at while crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. The van was full of Orthodox Jewish boys, and in the attack, one of them died. In February 1997, a Danish tourist who was relaxing atop the Empire State Building was murdered. Similarly, Islamic extremists helped to mastermind the bombing of U.S embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 (Pipes para. 1).
In October 1999, Islamic extremist hijacked an EgyptAir plane with passengers aboard and crashed it into the Atlantic Ocean near New York City. The crash led to the death of 217 passengers on board. Islamic extremists also kidnapped and murdered the reporter Daniel Pearl. in 2002.
One striking similarity in all these incidents is that the culprits were Muslims males of between 17 and 40 years of age. One common thread among all these incidents is that nearly all of them took place near or in Washington DC and New York City. The 9/11 attack was also a culmination of years of planning by the terrorist groups, and as such, we need to take proactive steps lest the situation gets out of hand.
The above statistics show that young males from the Middle East have a higher likelihood of hijacking and blowing up our planes and buildings, killing innocent citizens in the process (Siggins para. 9). On this ground, ethnic profiling becomes necessary. Although it is only a small part of the Middle Easterners who commit these heinous crimes, nonetheless, if at all we are to root out the terrorists amongst them, racial profiling appears to the best strategy.
Since other security measures previously adopted have failed, ethnic profiling remains the most practical strategy to adopt. The 9/11 bomb terrorists managed to pass through our security systems undetected. Even with tightened security measures, these Islamists were still able to conceal explosives in their shoes and board a plane.
Even after security was further tightened and passengers required to remove shoes first before boarding a plane Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Muslim extremist, still managed to conceal explosives under his underwear, and he boarded the plane. What this shows is that terrorists have an upper hand even with new security measures. From a moral perspective, Middle Eastern profiling is justifiable seeing that our other security measures have proved unsuccessful in containing acts of terrorism.
In spite of these anomalies, racial profiling of Middle Easterners (especially males of between 17 and 40 years) is a reasonable act since most of the terrorist organizations that pose a major threat to global security are mainly prevalent in this region. The reasoning behind the profiling of this group is that individuals within these organizations from the Middle East have a higher likelihood of committing acts of terrorism, going by past experiences.
This may sound like witch-hunting, but if a policeman is described as a crime suspect by a witness, he/she would most likely search for the said suspect going by the description given. Shouldn’t the same go for terrorism? If past statistics point at young males from the Middle East as potential terrorism suspects, why not subject them to additional surveillance at the airport before boarding a plane, for example? This way, we can prevent a disaster from happening, such as the blowing up of a plane in which hundreds of innocent passengers perish.
Racial profiling is a tactic to control crime. There is a profound connection between being a member of a given racial group and the increased probability to commit certain crimes. In light of this, Middle Easterners have been shown to belong to Islamic Extremist groups that have assumed responsibility for many of the terrorist attacks that we have thus far witnessed.
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On such a ground, profiling is justified. Based on an increased tendency to commit certain crimes, stopping, investigating, and searching members of this group play a big role in curbing crime. What this means is that racial profiling eliminates a higher number of crimes compared with other law enforcement practices even when the same resources have been committed.
The recent terrorism events that we have witnessed are an indication that terrorists are now able to circumvent the existing security systems. If at all, we are to prevent the sufferings and deaths of innocent citizens, we need to take drastic actions to curb the situation. Profiling of Middle Easterners on the grounds of curtailing terrorism is justified considering that the majority of the reported incidents have been perpetrated by Islamic extremists from this region.
Pipes, Daniel. Fighting Militant Islam, Without Bias. November, 2001. Web.
Siggins, Peter. Racial Profiling in an Age of Terrorism. 2010. Web.