Sunday, July 10, 2005

Racial Profiling

As I was reading the paper this morning, I came across an article on the "creeping racism" in Britain in the aftermath of Thursday's bombing. Apparently, the writer (an Indian) was travelling in Britain, and was questioned/harassed quite a bit more than the white people were. Not surprisingly, he took umbrage at this, and was quite pissed off that despite their patriotism and courage following the bombings, British Asians will now have to put up with such crap regularly. Racial Profiling seems to have raised its ugly head in Britain.

Now, as an Indian, and as a brown person, I know I will have to put up with such incidents whenever I travel to the US or the UK, and it concerns me. I am as pissed off by racial profiling as the next guy. But when I think about it, I wonder, is it really avoidable?

Consider the facts. The UK was attacked by a fundamentalist Islamic terror group. Hence, Britain's current attackers are almost certainly drawn from a small, lunatic minority of the Muslim populations. Any further attacks on Britain are also likely to be conducted by the same demographic. Given this, and given their scarce resources, would you expect the British police to strip search everybody who enters their country? Is that even feasible?

Islamic terrorists are, without exception, Islamic. And therefore, Muslims, and people who look like they might be Muslims will continue to attract extra attention from the authorities to make sure they are not people to be concerned about. The perpetrators of 7/7 will not be caught by frisking blond, blue-eyed Teutons. This is a truth Muslims and Asians will have to learn to accept. The alternative would be like asking the British to forgo their efforts to catch the perpetrators of this attack and to prevent another.

The racial profiling that started after 9/11 and 7/7 is certainly a horrible thing, but it is just the symptom of a problem. The real problem here is the terror campaign waged by Al-Qaeda and it's fundamentalist allies. And as long as that continues, we're just going to learn to live with racial profiling.

Update: Samizdata points to a good article by Charles Moore on the British Authorities' attitude to Muslims after the attack.

Posted in Politics and Economics.


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