It is important for all of us to remain vigilant.
An issue that is somewhat thorny is that of so-called “racial” profiling. This is the belief (or practice) that certain “races” (that is, people appearing to be of certain ethnic origins) should or ought to receive especial attention and scrutiny to prevent or thwart criminal activity. With regard to Islamist terrorism, the “races” or ethnicities targetted are often said or considered to be those of the Arabs and South Asians (namely, Pakistanis).
On the one hand, this makes perfect sense. The Islamist terrorists who attacked The Republic on September 11, 2001, were almost all of the same ethnic origins (Arab, and specifically Saudi). Worldwide, people of certain ethnicities are seen to be plotting and attempting terrorist attacks.
Obviously, these are not the only people who carry out terrorist attacks. There are (were?) Irish terrorists, Basque terrorists, Kurdish terrorists, Tamil terrorists, Balochi terrorists, Kashmiri terrorists. But none of these, for the most part, strike outside of a specific geopolitical area (Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Spain, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Iran and Pakistan, and India respectively). So this adds support that certain ethnicities should or ought to be targetted for especial attention and scrutiny and surveillance. In other words, while some Tamil Sri Lankans are prone to terrorism, this is only a concern if one is in Sri Lanka and not, say, in The United States or The United Kingdom. On the other hand, since Islamist terrorists of Arab and Pakistani ethnic origins are prone to attack anywhere, they should be closely watched.
Furthermore, there are only certain ethnicities that are actively calling for the destruction of The West. Sri Lankans do not engage in such rhetoric or plans, nor do Irish people or Kurdish militants. Although many hate The West, Arabs and Pakistanis are at the forefront of actual violent or militant propaganda and plots against The West.
And so any responsible anti-terrorist or counter-terrorist outfit would conduct what is called “racial” profiling.
But there is just one problem. Islamism, Islamist militancy, and Islamist militant terrorism are very adept at converting people to Islam and to Islamist terrorism. And so not only do we need to worry about the usual suspects, so to speak, but also those who have been converted. Our obliviousness to this is exploited by Islamist terrorists, as can be seen by a number of the people involved in the plot by Britons to attack American and British trans-Atlantic flights from London. One was even a white (that is, British) pregnant woman, someone who would not register on anyone’s counter-terrorism radar.
Consider also the cases of Padilla and Reid (the so-called shoe-bomber, not the senator): neither of them are Arab or Pakistani.
And so “racial” profiling would not solve all of our counter-terrorism needs. To some degree, it seems, Islamists are counting on us to focus on “racial” profiling so that they can slip by terrorists who do not fit the usual profile of Islamist terrorists.
My suggestion is that while focusing on the usual suspected ethnicities or people of suspected ethnic origins (Arab, especially Saudi, and South Asian, especially Pakistani), we need to watch for suspicious behavior by any and all people. Besides, Islamist terrorism is not the only threat: some people are simply deranged and up to no good. We should, thus, be able to stop not only Islamist terrorist attacks but also attempts by anyone, for any reason, to conduct lethal attacks of any sort. And, who knows, maybe by cracking down on people who show an inordinate interest in information and data regarding our infrastructure, we might be able to help counterintelligence efforts as well. Preventing Iran, Russia, China, or any of the host of our enemies from getting intelligence will help The Republic.
And a special message for churches and synagogues and other social entities: try your best to keep as many people as possible connected and integrated in your social milieux. Loners are far more liable to be attracted by and consequently convert to Islamist militancy. The more we can keep our people within our welcoming and protective arms, the fewer people the Islamists will have to convert and then use for their nefarious purposes. It would also be nice to see some strong arguments made by Jews and Christians regarding the errors of Islam (and/or Islamism) and the rightfulness of Judaism or Christianity. This political correctness in letting the Islamists to broadcast their propaganda while Jews and Christians speak forth sugar-coated platitudes, does not serve us (Jews or Christians) socially, infrastructurally, or even theologically. This also establishes a bulwark of opposition to Islamism via opposition to (or refutation of) Islam (that is, if Islam is wrong, then obviously Islamism is wrong) that can help significantly cut down the legitimacy of Islamism and Islamists.