Why Terrorists Love Profiling

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (handout/Getty Images)
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (handout/Getty Images)

The Rev. Al Sharpton argues at the Huffington Post that the controversial practice actually helps those who would do harm to America.

In the 1990s, National Action Network and I worked on a case with the late Johnnie Cochran where we introduced the term racial profiling into America's lexicon. Four young Black and Latino men from New York were traveling to North Carolina for a basketball tournament when two White police officers pulled them over on the New Jersey Turnpike and opened fire, injuring three of them. Profiling, whether it be racial, religious, or any other kind, is a poison on society that can unknowingly chip away at its principles. After the catastrophic Boston marathon bombings, we must take great measure in making sure that in our diligent pursuit of all responsible parties, we do not begin down a slippery slope of profiling and demonizing entire groups, religions or ethnicities. Profiling based on race or religious affiliation is not only immoral and unproductive, but it also gives more power to those wrongdoers that fall outside of the profile. As I've echoed for decades, these kinds of dangerous practices criminalize the innocent and rarely solve crime itself, or prevent the actual criminals. Profiling will only help the terrorists.

When Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the now deceased suspect in the Boston attack, allegedly had two outbursts in a local mosque, the members of that congregation shouted him down and asked him not to return (according to reports). Immediately upset over his inflammatory rhetoric towards Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, as well as his objection toward celebrating holidays like Thanksgiving, those in attendance couldn't have been more patriotic in their stance. Today, we're hearing other reports that a Boston mosque (possibly the same one) has refused to hold the funeral and burial for Tamerlan because of his reprehensible actions. And in the recent thwarted train terror plot, it was Toronto's Muslim community that led police to the suspects. Instead of highlighting these devoted Muslims and their praise-worthy actions, much of the focus has remained on reigniting the flames of Islamophobia and racial/religious profiling.


Read the Rev. Al Sharpton's entire piece at the Huffington Post.

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