I am sad to say that racial and religious profiling is still alive in well in Minnesota, particularly for Somali communities.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport recently asked manager Andrew Rhoades to profile Somali people in Minnesota.
Rhoades refused to submit to this order and spoke out against his supervisor. This supervisor accused Rhoades of “going native” because he once attended a meeting at a local mosque and has a strong relationship with Somali community members.
While the TSA has claimed that it takes racial profiling seriously and that it will take action if an investigation finds that Rhoades’ supervisor was in the wrong, I’m worried that there may be other employees who practice similarly racist methods.
The TSA is not the only powerful institution displaying intolerant behavior. On a national level, there’s an even larger issue at hand. For example, after the terrorist attack against Brussels in March, Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz both voiced their desire to increase the surveillance of Muslim communities all over the United States.
The TSA, the Republican Party and other powerful institutions must not tolerate anti-Islam perspectives. Surveillance of Muslim communities under the assumption that every member is a dangerous radical dehumanizes a group of people. It is religious profiling at its most extreme, and it cannot go unnoticed.
I’d also like to highlight how small the population of “radical” Muslims is in order to enlighten any proponents of religious profiling as to how irrational it is to fear an entire group of people.
As of 2010, there were 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, making up 23 percent of the planet’s population. Ninety-three percent of the Muslim population stand against extremist views that promote violence.
While some of you might point to the seven percent of Muslims who might be considered radical, it’s relevant to note that every religion — including Christianity — has its extremists. It’s illogical and ridiculous to fear an entire group of people on the basis of a small group of radicals.
Violence in religion is nothing new, and it is certainly not linked exclusively to Muslims. For example, the Bible contains its fair share of violent passages, and significant parts of Christianity’s history are based in violence — from the Crusades and the slave trade to witch hunting and the Inquisition. The list goes on.
Monitoring an entire religion based on radical attacks from a small portion of its population while entirely ignoring the dangerously radical nature of other religions is both oppressive and ignorant.
We need to avoid racial and religious profiling at all costs in Minnesota. I also urge you not to elect a hateful candidate who feels comfortable making blanket statements that marginalize entire groups of people. That is not what America represents.
Keelia Moeller welcomes comments at [email protected]