Racial Profiling in the War on Terrorism

Racial profiling in the war on terrorism denotes targeting individuals based on religious affiliation and racial, cultural, and ethnic composition. Law enforcement agencies use false stereotypes to stop, search or arrest individuals. The people most affected by racial profiling are minorities, primarily African Americans, who are wrongly accused of involvement in gangs, drugs, and other criminal activities. However, the 911 attacks and subsequent terrorist attacks subjected Muslims and Arabs to racial profiling, which has not changed.

In Western airports, individuals bearing Muslim names such as Mohammad or Ahmad are discriminately targeted by law enforcement, especially when entering a country multiple times. The prejudice against Muslims cause the police and customs officers to select people bearing Muslim names for secondary screening. Foreign Muslims encounter interrogations in Western countries to ascertain their purpose and stay. Furthermore, many are denied entry despite having a legitimate reason, such as tourism, because the border officers wrongly view them as a threat just because of a name. False stereotypes have programmed law enforcers into believing that specific religion, dressing, and culture signify a potential terrorist.

The Trump administration banned people from 6 Muslim majority countries from entering the U.S.  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/31/us/politics/trump-travel-ban.html. The sole reason the six countries were blacklisted is that Islam is their primary religion. Certain nations on the list have not had a single terrorist attack in decades or ever hosted a terrorist organization such as ISIS. Banning an entire country because of religion amounts to racial and ethnic profiling. The decision empowered border officers and other law enforcement agencies to conduct discriminatory searches and arrests on Muslims and Arabs. It promoted racial profiling in the name of fighting terrorism.

Racial profiling in the war on terrorism extends beyond law enforcement. Citizens, especially in the West, wrongly associate Islam, long beards, and Middle Eastern culture with terrorism. https://edition.cnn.com/2016/07/03/us/ohio-false-isis-report/index.html. Ignorant individuals call the police on people wearing a thawb or proclaiming Muslim prayers because they view such dressing and practice as terrorist activity. The situation has escalated that Middle Eastern nations advise their citizens not to wear cultural clothing in Western countries. Muslim and Arab minorities in countries such as the U.S, U.K, and New Zealand face racial profiling and hate crimes from nationalists and far-right groups.

The recent efforts by terrorist organizations such as ISIS to recruit foreigners have transformed terrorism. A decade ago, racial profiling in the war on terrorism was limited to Muslims and Arabs. However, terrorist movements in Syria, Iraq, and Somalia attracted Americans and Europeans to join Jihad in these countries. Nowadays, White people are wrongly accused of terrorism in the Middle East and Africa. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_o9Ho1flA4. In certain African or Middle Eastern countries, a lone Western traveler raises suspicion among locals, causing them to call the police on tourists or someone without affiliation to any terror group. The war on terrorism intensified racial profiling, adversely impacting millions worldwide.

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