A Bad Case of Racial Profiling

Tall, dark and handsome... Light brown eyes, black hair, slim figure...

Note the very confused look on his face, this must mean he's trying to get away from the site quickly; he must be the man we're looking for!

These were the thoughts of many people when Abdulrahman Ali AlHarbi, one of the many victims of the Boston Bombings and a Saudi national all at the same time, was trying to get away from danger just like any other person that day. Except he ended up being a victim of racial profiling as well.

After the bombs were detonated, he along with everyone else in the area rushed to get to safety and try to assess the damage. He was confused and scared, still trying to put the pieces of the last few moments together all the while hoping that he was not in any immediate danger. A bystander helped him to an ambulance and he soon found himself surrounded by police officers, escorting him to the hospital. Why? Because whenever anything like this happens, people will automatically look to the outlier, in this case, the Saudi national. After extensive questioning in the hospital, his name was cleared but his life was changed until this day. Reports came out of police having caught the perpetrator and his name and picture were scattered all over the internet; the real story is that he was on his way to meet some friends at a nearby cafe to have lunch, that's it.

Now, it's with great bitterness that I admit this, but Islamic Public Relations isn't exactly very good these days and this is something that each one of us has to deal with on a daily basis, and so many responded to this thinking that it's normal that they would question the Arab in the pack. Remember September 11th right? But I have to disagree, it shouldn't be normal that all eyes automatically go to the Middle Easterner or the muslim when things like this happen because if anyone was to look deeper into the religion of Islam they would understand that we do not condone these attacks in any way.

It's sad that racial profiling has become justified in situations like this because of events that took place in the past and it's really disappointing that our news reports come out with descriptions such as Saudi, Muslim, Arab, or whatever else label they choose when it comes to describing the perpetrators. I understand that our track record isn't the best but if the world continues to generalize then we will never be given a chance to show just how beautiful Islam can be. Opinions change all the time and people can be proven wrong after having made a generalization, I just don't understand why everyone is so set on this one.

Link Abdulrahman Ali AlHarbi interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-KwWN1iW_M