The following letter by ADC Director of Legal Policy Kareem Shora appears in today’s edition of the Washington Times. Click on the link below to view the letter online.
http://washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20040729-081714-1256r.htm A knee-jerk reaction
Audrey Hudson’s article “Syrians flew with expired visas” (Page 1, Tuesday) only exacerbated the level of ignorance and yellow journalism expressed in her earlier article addressing the same topic, “Scouting jetliners for new attacks” (Page 1, July 22).
Ms. Hudson’s editorializing in the two front-page stories smacks of the opportunistic bigotry so far reserved, almost exclusively, for extreme right-wing AM radio talk-show hosts and, on occasion, certain pundits on the Fox News Channel. The two stories, by default, advocate for the profiling of Arabs and Arab Americans.
The level of ignorance used in attempting to rationalize the irrational only reflects a delayed, superficial, knee-jerk reaction against the horrible and inhuman events of September 11. The Bush administration and law enforcement experts have made it clear that blanket profiling of individuals on such general bases as race, gender or national origin is an ineffective tool in the war against terrorism, just as we painfully learned of its ineffectiveness in the war on drugs.
Our nation is at war for the definition of what it means to be American. Our worst enemies are those few individuals, on all sides, who act based on their emotions to bring about changes that can damage our way of life and liberty. While extremists, be they foreign or domestic, continue to advocate a clash of civilizations, we should learn from our historical mistakes and understand once and for all that the approach of “with us or against us” has no place in this magnificent mosaic, the nation of nations we call the United States of America.
KAREEM W. SHORA
Director, legal policy
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Washington