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Editorial: Unfair profiling ran rampant after marathon in media

By Editorial Board
On May 3, 2013

  • Women's soccer vs Stanford. JONATHAN KULAKOFSKY THE DAILY CAMPUS

The media reaction to the initiation of prosecution against Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzokhar Tsarnaev has taken a predictable turn towards inexcusable profiling and scapegoating. Last week, Bob Beckel, a Fox News commentator, proposed that the United States temporarily cut off immigration of Muslim students "so that we can at least absorb what we've got, look at what we've got and decide whether some of the people here should be sent back home or sent to prison." His apparent belief is that Muslim extremists recruit poor young men and train them to become terrorists and that any Muslim immigrant to the United States should automatically be viewed with suspicion.
In addition, conservative commentator Ann Coulter suggested, on the same day and on the same network, that the Dzokhar's sister-in-law and the wife of the late Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the other bombing suspect, should be imprisoned for wearing hijab, the Muslim woman's veil. Though wearing hijab is punishable by a fine in France, there is no law prohibiting it in the United States, which suggests that Coulter's suspicion of those who have not "culturally assimilated" is purely based on the external markers of Islamic faith.
The bombing and subsequent apprehension of the suspects has brought out the very best and the very worst in America. A nation that has become accustomed to hearing of acts of terrorism committed by Arab Muslims has shown its unease at the extreme criminal behavior of white, Caucasian U.S. citizens, suggesting, in the case of at least one U.S. Senator, that the individuals should be tried as enemy combatants in military courts. The response to seeing pictures of terrorists that look very similar to much of white America has been to define them as foreign to racially separate and blame all Muslims for their behavior.
Beckel , Coulter and other xenophobes have the right to express their bigotry publically, but we should recognize their rhetoric as divisive and useless. No Muslim student should have their visa revoked on the basis of their religion because of a reinvigorated national paranoia. No Muslim woman should fear harassment or arrest because of her religious practice. The media's impetus to look at Muslim Americans as inherently suspicious because of their faith suggests that an internal War on Terror must be fought - but in the realm of discourse and ideas - against these pundits' campaign of racial terror and profiling.  

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