The ‘Jihad Jane’ Case vs. Racial Profiling at Airports

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 8:41 am

The Justice Department has brought charges against a Pennsylvania woman whose internet handle is “Jihad Jane.” Her actual name is Colleen LaRose, and she’s accused of “conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, making false statements to a government official and attempted identity theft.” Why did she think she’d get away with it? Charlie Savage and Anahad O’Connor explain:

Ms. LaRose is white, with blond hair and green eyes, according to the law enforcement official, who was not authorized to share details of the case and spoke only on the condition of anonymity. …

The indictment refers to e-mail messages in which a conspirator, citing how Ms. LaRose’s appearance and American passport would make it easier for her to operate undetected, allegedly directed her in March 2009 to go to Sweden to help carry out a murder.

But the Department of Homeland Security insists on singling out citizens of mostly-Muslim “terror-prone” countries for additional airport screening, a move that would not have caught shoebomber Richard Reid (British citizen, Jamaican heritage); would-be-underpants bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab at the time (Nigerian citizen, lots of time spent in the U.K.; and now Jihad Jane (American citizen, white as the driven snow, and we know white people can’t be terrorists). But ethnic profiling is great at humiliating and infuriating dignitaries of countries like Pakistan, whose assistance is absolutely crucial to an ultimate defeat of al-Qaeda.

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Comments

16 Comments

nmjardine
Comment posted March 10, 2010 @ 11:26 am

I've felt this way since 9/11. Not all Muslims are dark, swarthy, burka-/turban-wearing individuals. Muslims are Asian, African, European. Good lord, don't people remember that the Serbs were trying to exterminate the Muslims in Bosnia? Racial profiling is useless!


Dave
Comment posted March 10, 2010 @ 1:19 pm

Lets point at two or three exceptions and change the rule, not the way you look at statistics. If most terrorist are of Middle Eastern descent and Muslims then it would be an act of utter stupidity not to check them more closely then others. However, this does not mean you don't check others. If you are looking for a serial killer its usually a middle aged white male, pointing at the Atlanta child killer Wayne Williams doesn't change that, so looking for a serial killer you know where they start as well they should


Apparently, She Was Also The Crazy Cat Lady « Around The Sphere
Pingback posted March 10, 2010 @ 5:03 pm

[...] Spencer Ackerman at The Washington Independent: Why did she think she’d get away with it? Charlie Savage and Anahad O’Connor explain: [...]


nmjardine
Comment posted March 10, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

I've felt this way since 9/11. Not all Muslims are dark, swarthy, burka-/turban-wearing individuals. Muslims are Asian, African, European. Good lord, don't people remember that the Serbs were trying to exterminate the Muslims in Bosnia? Racial profiling is useless!


Yet Another Example to Show that Racial Profiling Does Not Work | The SAALT Spot
Pingback posted March 10, 2010 @ 6:46 pm

[...] Read more about LaRose’s case (and how it reveals the ineffectiveness of racial profiling) here. [...]


Dave
Comment posted March 10, 2010 @ 7:19 pm

Lets point at two or three exceptions and change the rule, not the way you look at statistics. If most terrorist are of Middle Eastern descent and Muslims then it would be an act of utter stupidity not to check them more closely then others. However, this does not mean you don't check others. If you are looking for a serial killer its usually a middle aged white male, pointing at the Atlanta child killer Wayne Williams doesn't change that, so looking for a serial killer you know where they start as well they should


sasboy
Comment posted March 12, 2010 @ 12:18 am

Terrorism has no race, therefore racial profiling is most likely a waste of time and resources.


An end to racial profiling? « BBC World Have Your Say
Pingback posted March 15, 2010 @ 5:35 am

[...] those who maintain their backing for profiling - in comments here and this blog post, for example - base their argument on statistics, saying this case is an [...]


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