Racial Profiling of Arabs


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"I'm Not the Enemy" is a great article that we should all read after the attacks on September 11th. It conveys an important message that we should not see our fellow Americans as our enemy based on the color of their skin, or their religion. The author, Reshma Memon Yaqub, feared racial profiling against Muslims and people of Middle Eastern descent after the attacks. She shared the same religion and ethnicity of those who committed the act. That is where her fear steams from. As a Muslim, she and many others feared that America would consider them guilty for the crimes as well. I can understand her fear. People want to point fingers and always look for someone to blame in times like 9/11. Like Tom Clancy mentioned in the article; the way we behave when we have been hurt truly shows who we are. Everyone generalized that since the terrorists were Islamic, that all Islamic people supported the attacks. In our quest to find who's responsible for our pain, we don't realize that we can hurt others along the way.

Yaqub's fear deepened for her relatives. Her sisters-in-law wear the traditional headscarves, and her brother defends Muslims in high-profile discrimination cases. Those factors make it easier for her relatives to become targets of racial profiling. It made it easier for people to generalize and try to associate the attackers with her relatives. After 9/11 there were people who were cruel, and insensitive enough to complain and refuse to ride on a plane with Middle Eastern passengers on board. Incidents like that contributes to and increases Yaqub's fears of racial profiling. There were many incidents that involved violence towards Muslims, which were reported around the country that should outrage the whole nation.

Immigrants built America. Our country is the most diverse country in the world. It's so diverse that it's very hard to judge how "American" someone is. There can be a big difference between patriotism and being an "American." That word lost its meaning because people abused it when they were violent towards Muslims, who are also Americans. The American Muslims were hurt more than others during the aftermath. When the country was terrorized by madmen, American Muslims are victimized twice. They were victims of the attacks as well; you can't deny that they are a part of this country. You don't just blame someone who shares your pain, and grieves with you.

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You can't tell a Muslim to "go back to where you came from" when they were born right here in the United States.

Not only did Muslims fear racial profiling. They feared that images in the media would make Americans assume that all Muslims were anti-American. People can practice the same religion but still have different opinions on issues and topics. Americans practice different religions, but we all want peace, and we all love our country. The love someone has for their God and the love someone has for their religion differs greatly. Religion has a very big impact on what type of person we are but there's more to a person than their religion, or even their race.

In a country where freedom of religion is a highly prized freedom, a Muslim or any other religious person should be able to continue to worship and not fear that the whole community will be considered guilty based on one persons crime. When a Jew or a Christian commits a crime, no one accuses and singles out the whole Jewish or Christian community, so that shouldn't be the case for Muslims. Religion is a very important part of Americans' lives, and it's easy for people to make generalizations based on religion. We may be Catholic or Hindu, but we are all still Americans and share the same pain and grief during times like 9/11.



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