Racial Profiling in the War on Terrororism

United States of America is a multicultural nation with a wide variety of races and ethnic groups which includes white (72.4%), black/African American (12.6%), Asian (4.8%), American Indian and Alaska Native (0.9%), Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (0.2%) and Hispanic/ Latino(16.3%). Race is a good predictor of people’s beliefs and behavior. The secular constitution of the nation deserves the complete appreciation for the unified life of people under various religions such as Christianity (78.4%), Judaism, Buddhism, Islam (0.6%), Hinduism and Unitarian Universalism. Western culture, classless society and the high social mobility that the Americans enjoy attracted the immigrants from all over the world.  But “11 September 2001”-the Black Tuesday in the world history witnessed the collapse of the most prestigious world trade center in the Newyork City into a zero point .Terrorists attacks of Al-Qaeda headed by Osama Bin Laden caused the merciless murder of three thousand Americans. Burned dead bodies laid unidentifiable on the American soil. Even after these ten years the memories of that dreadful day fill the human eyes with tears and pain. Human life once lost is lost forever. Hence under the presidency of George W Bush the “War on Terror” the declaration to eliminate the unjustifiable acts of terrorists was taken. To find the followers of any terrorists groups identification based on races, ethnic groups, religions, color and language were adopted. This racial profiling ensured homeland security but the sentiments of the people were terribly hurt. Their personal freedom, civilian rights, safety and security were violated in their own mother land. Hence racial profiling in the war on terrorism gained sensation as a controversial issue.


On September 11th 2001, nineteen terrorists from the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger jets. The hijackers purposefully crashed “American Airlines Flight 11” and   “United Airlines Flight 175” into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. This militant organization founded by Osama Bin Laden created this destruction to end the American military presence in the Middle East and Arabian Peninsula. They are known to be engaged in tactics including suicide attacks, hijackings, kidnapping and recruiting new members through the Internet. A terrorist attack on the world’s most powerful nation shocked all other countries. As a result, all political organizations in different parts of the world supported America’s campaign against Terrorism. “Global War on Terror” is an International military campaign led by the US and UK with the support of other NATO as well as non NATO countries against al-Qaeda. Barak Obama, the present US President, replaces war on terrorism as “Overseas Contingency Operation.” Unfortunately, this great movement to eliminate one of the greatest human threats faced the problem of racial profiling. It refers to the use of an individual’s race or ethnicity by law enforcement personnel as a key factor in deciding whether to engage in enforcement (make a traffic stop or arrest). The 4th and 14th amendment of the US constitution guarantees the right to be safe from unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause and that all citizens will be treated equally under the law. Hence using race as a proxy for potential criminal behavior is unconstitutional.

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Racial profiling has both narrow and broader definitions. In the narrow definition, it occurs when a police officer stops, questions, arrests and/or searches someone solely on the basis of the person’s race or ethnicity whereas in the broader view racial profiling occurs whenever police routinely use race as a factor that, along with an accumulation of other factors, causes an officer to react with suspicion and take action. Since 11th September 2001, there have been reports on increased racial profiling at airports, particularly targeting at people who appears to be Muslims or of South Asian or Middle Eastern descent.  A report that the famous Indian Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan was stopped at the airport because of the reason that he is a Muslim was viewed as a serious issue worldwide.   The claims of profiling have been particularly focused on Naturalization, Customs and Border Patrol agents accused of making Muslim’s entry or re-entry into the US more difficult and under pressure. This not only violates the civil rights of individuals but also the civil rights of the racial and ethnic minorities as a group. Racial discrimination also leads to a negative interaction of the public with the police. It is a powerful tool for enhanced homeland security but can never be digested by the people of the nation. President George Bush declared that “Racial Profiling is wrong and we will end it in America. In so doing, we will not hinder the works of our nation’s brave police officers. They protect us every day, often at great risk”.

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Islamic terrorism is acts of terrorism committed by Muslims for the purpose of achieving varying political or religious needs. It has been identified as taking place in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia and United States since 1970s. An ideology that plays a role in Islamic terrorism is the principle of “JIHAD” which means struggle. Militants generally use Jihad to mean defensive or retaliatory warfare against those who have allegedly harmed Muslims. Social identity is explained as a feeling of belonging to a social group with very strong missions and plans. Loyalty, when they are a group, is the biggest power of these organizations. Even though all religious books teach “Love your brother”, they misinterpret it in many other ways. Sometimes their needs may be genuine, but the method adopted to accomplish their goal always creates threats to human life. Osama Bin Laden has a highly salient perception of his social identity as a Muslim, has a strong connection to the social category of Muslim “UMMAH” or community. Laden’s ideology and interpretation of Islam led to the creation of al-Qaeda. It has a group identity, which includes shared experience, attitudes, beliefs and interests of in group members. Muslim world believes that September 11 attacks as a defensive Jihad by a legitimate rather than terrorism. Studies show that Muslim youth can easily be brain washed. The probability of violence accelerates in early adolescence reaching a peak between the ages of seventeen and eighteen and then declining. If this is the trend, then how can we blame Government for adopting racial discrimination as a way of identifying the terror supporters?

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Racial profiling can be adopted as one of the best ways of identification for ensuring safety and security of the country. But ill-treating the people based on a proof less doubt puts a black mark on the constitutional laws. Since the use of ethnic and racial profiling is both effective and necessary, a commitment from all segments of the society is required for the smooth running of the process. People should be convinced that such a system is adopted so as not to repeat another September 11 in the American history. All immigrants should be made aware that the land is always surrounded by terrorists, and they are waiting for a chance to interfere and destroy the political, scientific and economic setup of the country. Moreover, moral education should be made compulsory in school level syllabus. Children from their small ages should be thought that there is only one God and people call him by different names such as Jesus, Allah, Ram and Buddha. Religious beliefs cannot be always supported with scientific proofs. But it is always advisable to seek assurance in a supreme power since human minds need assurance of love, care and protection especially during dangerous situations. We know that police officers are performing their duty. However, they should be warned that no one should be harassed or tortured based on their color, race, ethnic groups or languages. Education at a well-known American University, a highly secure job with high salary scale and American citizenship are the biggest dreams that a student in a developing nation can aspire for. But if the security of those flying to America from other lands is under question, then we can no longer expect idea flow from other nations. Developing nations will have a fear for establishing long term business agreements with the country because of the lack of security and safety. This will produce an awkward feeling in the minds of other developed as well as developing nations. Moreover, this unstable status of the country can be very well exploited by the other nations. As a result, people will opt for other developed countries for their education and family settlement. Racial profiling is sure to affect the sentiments of the public. So this process should be treated like a very serious heart operation. Too much strain on the people’s belief can even cause the outbreak of religious fights or protest against the government. Hence police agencies should earn the respect of the community through impartial and consistent application of the laws. Private community members should recognize and respect the efforts of those who have elected to serve and protect the public. Law enforcement personnel and private community residents need to engage in through communication. Police officers must explain their suspicions to all individuals whom they stop. Moreover, profiling based solely on race, ethnic origin and language must be prohibited. It should be considered only if there is substantial information that a particular crime is being committed by one racial/ethnic community. Private residents’ survey shows that there is racial discrimination between the white and black people in America. Moreover, there is no logic in assuming that the black and Hispanic youth are gang members. We do not know why some of us are white, whereas some are black in color. Hence facial complexions can never be considered as a criterion for identification. It is the human mind which is prone to commit sins and crimes. How can color of a person be used to read his/her mind details? People say that black are questioned and charged for the same offense in different ways. Black people are even sentenced differently for crimes committed. Beer parties out in the desert are a common practice among the youth. But, only the names of the Native Americans are always seen in newspapers for illegal consumption. These should not be misunderstood as a way of pointing out all mistakes at the majority white people. We all are human beings and may commit mistakes at different points of our life. No one has the right to blame each other. Only because of the reason that they are minority people they should not be downtrodden and denied everything. The real fact is that it is the responsibility of the majority to look into the needs of the minorities. Just think how would we feel if we are denied justice because we are a few in numbers? Moreover, if a problem happens to our family relative will we stay idle? This should be the mentality towards all living beings because life is just once and it is given not to fight but to live happily loving each other. All the good that we do is recorded by this nature and remember that we are making blessings for our future generations.


Just war theory is a doctrine of military ethics of Roman philosophical and catholic origin, studied by moral theologians, ethicists and international policy makers, which hold that a conflict ought to meet philosophical, religious or political criteria. The theorists combine a moral abhorrence towards war with a readiness to accept that war may sometimes be necessary. The theory has two criteria: jus ad bellum (right to go to war) and Jus in Bello (right conduct within war).  Jus ad bellum states that the reason for war should be just to protect the innocent human life. It supports comparative justice, which believes that injustice suffered by both the groups should be weighed and decided. It is also of the view that a just war should be initiated by political authority within a political system and not dictatorship like in Hitler’s Regime. It promotes the use of arms when all peaceful efforts to control the situation have failed. Jus in Bello is of the opinion that the just war conduct should be based on the principle of distinction and proportionality. Minimum force should be used to limit excessive and unnecessary death and destruction. Prisoners of war should be treated fairly as they no longer pose any threat or torture. Jus post bellum concerns justice after war when ending a war. Just war theory is rather practical keeping humanitarian feelings under consideration. However, war for any reason can never be justified. Comparing the features of war on terror, it is to protect the life of the innocent people, it is the people of America who has suffered more than the other group, the war on terror was under taken by the US government itself, this war has a right intention of eliminating terrorists and is not for any material gain and force is used at the final stage only when the suspects do not surrender themselves. Just war theory finds logic when applied in the case of war on terrorism. Although, whoever announces a war on the other will have thousands reasons to support all the principles of the just war theory. “Suppose al-Qaeda thinks that removing the American military force is to protect the innocent lives of their people. They requested the US government, but they never gave attention. As a final step, they used forces when their peaceful efforts failed. ”People are brilliant enough to raise reasons. War should never be welcomed. Once when it happens to us we understand the intensity of sufferings. Just war theory reveals that President Barak Obama’s usage is appropriate. It is Overseas Contingency Operation against the war of terrorists on common mass.


Racial profiling in the Overseas Contingency Operation is like a two sided coin. It has reasons to be supported as well as disagreed. Since now, it serves as a useful tool adapt to its ways until another idea is innovated to identify criminals. Quran says life is an interval between birth and death of a human life. Live it well. Let government use racial identification, but we should never be divided. United we live forever in peace and harmony. Each man has something good in him. It is the situation which makes man wild. All Muslims are not terrorists. Love can only change a man. Fill our homes with love and heavenly affection so that no body again wants to follow the path of Laden. We all know that India is a developing country. Western American culture has greatly influenced Indian children. Parents often complain and worry that why their children run behind this foreign culture and traditions when they have their own pure beliefs and ideologies. The reason is that the class less religion system and complete freedom has convinced them. No Gods introduced religions. Christ never framed Christianity. It is we the people of this world who created different religions. In some countries like in India people under different religions are further again sub divided into different classes, which allots them different ranks in the society. Hindus are further sub divided into Brahmins, Kshetriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. This caste system is a strong belief in the minds of Indian elders. Some parents do not even allow their children to mingle or interact with other children of lower caste. Inter caste marriages are looked upon as a serious sin. There are many cases of mass killing reported in different parts of India due to caste as well as religious clashes. Indian youth surveys reveal that they sincerely dream for a class less society like in America where they are never racially discriminated. The beliefs of the Indian parents are many years old. Usually religious concepts are injected right from the day the child starts adjusting to this world. Hence it is true that their mind can never be re written. Idea of a single religion can never be outlined. So children look at America and its residents with great respect. It is a big blessing that the American forefathers never divided themselves into any social classes. Now it is the turn of the present generation. We also should never create a difference between ourselves in the name of caste, color, creed, race or language. Racial profiling is only a technique introduced by the US government to identify the suspects. This should never leave our minds with the impression that people are divided and that we are superior to others. All are equal before the law. We should also firmly believe that. Some years later the Government would have found out new techniques to trace out the terrorists without using the principle of racial identification, and it will be vanished forever. Once the concept of racial division is fed into the minds of the public it is difficult to remove them. So better is to remain as before. We all should tie ourselves in the long thread of love forever. Right now racial profiling in the war on terrorism is a necessary evil in America. This two sided coin after totally twisting will fall into the side of “No Racial Discrimination”. That day is not so far. Let’s wait for it with a positive hope. 

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