|Innocent until proven Muslim
By Anai Rhoads
November 25, 2002
Since 911, the U.S. has quickly revamped policies relating to security. When
the idea of Muslim profiling was raised, it caused a significant stir around the
In the past, law enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) have repeatedly investigated, stopped,
questioned and in some cases searched individuals due to the colour of their skin,
origin, gender, or sexual orientation.
Profiling is not something that sprung up after 911, dedicated to "protect"
us. It violates civil liberties and generalises by appearance. This method has now
increased in intensity, expanding its scope into religion and origin.
October 1, 2002, INS inspectors began land, sea and airport campaign allowing authorities
to fingerprint, photograph and track visiting aliens who have traveled to Indonesia
or Malaysia. Previously, INS inspectors were limited special screening visitors from
Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya and Syria.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been busy keeping up with racial and
religious profiling cases after 911. Two examples:
-- An Illinois National Guardsman and three private security personnel at O'Hare
International Airport engaged in an unnecessary, unjustified, illegal and degrading
search of a 22 year old United States citizen of Pakistani descent last November.
Ms. Kaukab was identified and subjected to a humiliating search not because she posed
any security threat, but only because her wearing of a hijab identified her as a
-- Five men, including Michael Dasrath and Edgardo Cureg, had their civil rights
violated when they were forced off of Continental Flight #1218 on New Year's Eve,
after a fellow passenger stated "[the] brown men are behaving suspiciously."
Five civil rights lawsuits were filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
on behalf of the men. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination
Committee (ADC) is a co-plaintiff in three of the cases. The lawsuits
were filed simultaneously in LA, MD, NJ and San Francisco. Four of the passengers
are United States citizens and the fifth is a permanent legal resident.
The ACLU writes, "We bring these lawsuits because, as a nation, we long ago
settled the issue of discrimination. We declared it to be wrong, immoral, and contrary
to fundamental American values. We also made it illegal. We decided that every individual
should be allowed to participate in every aspect of American society, including in
the American economy; to eat at restaurants and stay in hotels; to travel on buses
and airplanes." 
This treatment is not only racist, but it also violates
the 4th Amendment which
states that the authorities require probable cause prior to a search. Profiling also
violates the 14th Amendment
which ensures equal protection for everyone regardless of race.
Hate crimes are on the rise. The number of reported anti-Islamic crimes increased
from 28 in 2000 to 481 in 2001. According to the FBI , the overall number of hate
crimes increased dramatically from 8,063 in 2000 to 9,726 in 2001, signaling an increase
Racially motivated bias represented the largest percentage
of bias related incidents at 44.9%, followed by ethnic/national origin bias at 21.6%.
Religious based bias rose to 18.8% in 2001. The FBI currently does not collect statistics
on anti-Arab or anti-Sikh hate crimes. Organisers of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination
Committee (ADC) and the Arab American Institute (AAI) report there have been over
200 incidents of abuse directed against Arab-Americans since 911.
Does racial and religious profiling generalise?
Those who are considered terrorists are of various ethnic and religious backgrounds
and operate all around the world. High profile attacks such as 911 have brought U.S.
attention on terrorists in or from the Middle East, and the U.S.State Department
has identified many groups with Arab/Muslim connections - this does not mean only
Arabs and Muslims are capable of terrorism.
Racial profiling of Arabs would prove difficult because Arabs may have light skin
and blue eyes to olive or dark skin and brown eyes. the U.S.has, at various times,
classified Arab immigrants as African, Asian, European or white.
They have roots spread over several countries such as parts or all of Algeria, Bahrain,
Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Arabs are residing in Israel, Lebanon, Libya,
Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Spain, Sudan,
Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The Arab world of the 7th to the
13th centuries joined the peoples of Spain and North Africa in the west with the
peoples of the ancient lands of Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia in the east.
Take into account how America handled Pearl Harbour
immediately following the bombing. Racial profiling allowed the wrangling of 120,313
Japanese-Americans persons during that period.
According to the Japanese American National Museum's  fact sheet, Ellis Island
along with several other immigration facilities was used as a detention and internment
station for enemy aliens, under the authority of the Immigration and Naturalization
Service. It has been estimated that as many as 8,000 aliens spent time at Ellis Island
between 1941-1945. Many of them were Japanese who, though living in the U.S. for
decades, were forbidden to become citizens.
Even in Canada, Japanese-Canadians were given only 24 hours notice to vacate their
homes, before being sent to special sites where they were detained until proper camps
were prepared for them. They were categorised as "enemy aliens" and uprooted
from their homes and businesses. Their property, which included cameras, radios and
watches, was confiscated for what the government considered to be "protective
measures". By November of 1942 nearly 22,000 people were displaced. This was
all due to racial profiling. 
Consider also Operation Seek and Keep where Federal agents used racial profiling
against Indians and Pakistanis during a high-profile investigation into immigrant
smuggling in the 1990s.:
"The purpose of Operation Seek and Keep was to dismantle a criminal network
that was smuggling Indian nationals into the United States for illegal employment,
thus preserving jobs for authorized U.S. workers. From a law enforcement perspective,
this case has been unique in that the entire smuggling organization has been broken.
International and domestic smugglers have been apprehended, closing down the smuggling
pipeline. Employers who placed orders for illegal aliens and the illegal aliens are
still being identified and apprehended". 
operation had taken in $220 million and smuggled 12,000 people, mostly from South
Asia. The operation led to the indictments of more than 30 people.
Violation of Amendment rights, media demonisation, denial of service, and an improved
chance of being attacked by an angry hate monger: these "privileges" of
citizenship in North America have been enjoyed by African-Americans for over a hundred
years, by the Japanese-Americans during World War II, and today by
Arab-Americans. Are you prepared to believe that it is for your own good? What happens
when your skin colour, your God, or your headdress becomes the scapegoat of the day?
The ACLU's nnational hotline (1-877-6-PROFILE) is designed to assist those who feel
they were subjected to racial or religious profiling.
© Copyright Anai Rhoads 2002. All Rights reserved.
Anai Rhoads is a medical and political researcher/writer with a particular
interest in the sanctions on Iraq and the wider effect of racism's influence in the
Middle East. A vegan since 2000, she is a dedicated supporter of activities which
promote animal and human rights. Originally from Greece, she now resides in Virginia,
of Illinois Challenges Ethnic and Religious Bias in Strip Searchof
Muslim Woman at O'Hare International Airport, January 16, 2002
Sues Four Major Airlines Over Discrimination Against Passengers, June 4, 2002
FBI HCSA highlighting
the 2001 Stats
 Anti-Discrimination Committee
 Japanese American National Museum's
Mass Incarceration Fact Sheet for
America's Concentration Camps: Remembering The Japanese American
 Adachi, Ken. The Enemy That Never Was : A History of the Japanese Canadians.
Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 1977.
Fact Sheet on Operation Seek And Keep 1998
Does this article have spelling or other mistakes? Tell
me to fix it.