Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Stereotyping terrorists as Arab or Muslim plays into Al Qaeda's hands

The former inspector general of Homeland Security argues -- with good reason -- that stereotyping all Muslims and Arabs as terrorists won't keep us safer. The column in today's New York Times makes for interesting reading next to the plea by Pamela K. Taylor for an end to sensational reporting on terror arrests.

Written by Clark Kent Ervin, the Times column notes:
To all this one may say, very well then; some terrorists aren't Arabs, but aren't they all Muslims? Shouldn't we subject Muslims to particular scrutiny?

This assumption, too, could be turned against us and exploited by Al Qaeda, if the group managed to make common cause with non-Muslim zealots of one kind or another who oppose the American government or particular groups of Americans. There are plenty of such groups within the United States: white supremacists, separatists, even plain old opportunists who can be bought for a price.

Finally, stereotyping Arabs or Muslims as terrorists angers and alienates them at a time when we need their support like never before to help root out those within their communities who do indeed pose a threat to our nation's security.
You have to register to read the column, but it is not behind the newspapers hideous Time Select paywall. You can read it for free.

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