Most Americans Back Racial Profiling

Most Americans support enforcing racial profile against people who look "Middle Eastern" at airports and train stations, a poll found on Tuesday, August 29, drawing immediate rebukes from civil liberties groups.

Most Americans Back Racial Profiling

Sixty percent of Americans surveyed by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute said that authorities should single out people who look "Middle Eastern" for security screening at airports and train stations, Reuters said.

The practice, however, was opposed by 37 percent of 1,080 respondents.

British Media reports recently said that the Blair government was considering a system of profiling whereby airport security staff would focus their search on ethnicity and religion grounds.

British Muslims have reacted angrily to the reported plans, saying that such a "terror profile" mounted to racism.

A recent poll by the YouGov also showed strong opposition from the British public to airport racial profiling.

The US is seeking powers to tap deeper into airline passenger databases, which include itineraries, personal information and bank credits, to identify not terrorists on watch lists but people who may be linked to them.

Taking a page from Israeli airport security, the US has established a new squad to monitor facial expressions and body and eye movements of travelers at airports to pick up people with "evil intent."


The poll findings drew immediate fire from civil liberty groups as the result of the media hysteria.

"It's an unfortunate by-product to the fear and hysteria we're hearing in many quarters," said Ibrahim Hooper, Communications Director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

"It's one of those things that makes people think they are doing something to protect themselves when they're not.

"They're in fact producing more insecurity by alienating the very people whose help is necessary in the war on terrorism," he warned.

Quinnipiac's director of polling, Maurice Carroll, also voiced surprise over strong public support for racial profiling.

"What's the motivation there -- is it bigotry, or is it fear or is it practicality?" he asked.

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) accused security officials at New York's John F. Kennedy airport of racially profiling Muslims.

"You really need some indication of individualized concern before you target someone for closer examination," said Dennis Parker, an ACLU director.

"One of the reasons for the US Constitution was to protect the rights of minorities."

Arab and Muslim men are often profiled for investigation and Sikhs have frequently been mistakenly perceived as being of Middle Eastern origin.

Civil liberties groups complain that racial profiling has been on the rise since the 9/11 attacks.

Thousands of Muslims and Arabs were rounded up and questioned in the US in the weeks and months following the 9/11 attacks.

Some of the detainees have sued the US government after their release for inhumane and degrading treatment and a total blackout of communications in detention centers on the US soil.

Another 9/11

The poll also found that most Americans expect a terrorist attack against the US in the next few months.

Sixty-two percent of respondents said that they were "very worried" or "somewhat worried" that terrorists would strike inside the US in the next few months while 37 percent were "not too worried" or "not worried at all."

The poll also said most Americans rank the 9/11 attacks as more significant than the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 that brought the US into the World War II.

"People have fresh memories of 9-11 and many don't have any memories at all of Pearl Harbor, and those who do don't have fresh memories of it," explained Bruce Schulman, a Boston University professor of history and American studies.

"We also feel pretty confident that we know how the results of Pearl Harbor turned out, and we certainly don't know what the consequences of 9-11 are going to turn out to be."

Renowned British journalist Robert Fisk has recently warned that the Israeli slaughtering of Lebanese civilians, mostly children, and the perceived western apathy could bring about "another 9/11."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16