Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Racial Profiling, Reality, and Taking Time to Think

Looks like law enforcement is taking investigation of the two young men caught speeding, with explosives in their car, near a Naval base, one step at a time. "2 charged with pipe bombs near Navy base," in the Boston Globe, reports that, after a few days, a joint state-federal investigation hasn't found a link to terrorism.

A representative for another group was able to reach a conclusion much more quickly. "Definitely this is not related to terrorism," said Ahmed Bedier of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The driver and passenger who were pulled over may just be a couple of daft young men. On the other hand, repeating from a previous post, here's what South Carolina police had to deal with:
  • A speeding car
  • Near a military base with a connection to foreign combatants
  • Contains
    • Two men of military age
    • A laptop they tried to hide
    • An explosive device
  • The men can't say why they are there
  • The men can't say where they're going
I'm no expert, but that looks a little suspicious. No matter who the young men are. My sincere hope is that 'reverse racial profiling' won't happen, where suspicious activity is given a pass, for fear of incurring the wrath of civil rights activists.

Hasty accusations of racial profiling do happen. Before information about the pipe bombs was released, the executive director of a civil rights organization for Muslims in Tampa criticized the arrest as racial profiling.

To be fair, Ahmed Bedier has acknowledged that "If it's clearly a pipe bomb that's a different story. Then there is cause for concern," which sounds reasonable. On the other hand, I haven't seen that he's withdrawn his charge of racial profiling. Certainly not in his blog.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.