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Diversity

Congressman Peter Kings' Congressional Hearings on Muslim Radicals Kickstarts Racial Profiling Debate

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Tue, Mar 8, 2011 at 3:34 PM
click to enlarge Congressman Peter King
  • Congressman Peter King
New York congressman Peter King, who once claimed that more than 80 percent of Mosques in the United States are controlled by fundamentalists, "an enemy living amongst us," is catching a lot of heat as he gets ready to conduct congressional hearings later this week on radicalization in the American Muslim community.

Protests have already begun and King's critics are comparing the Republican's targeting of Muslims to McCarthyism.

In an attempt to bring additional attention to the issue of racial profiling, a coalition of more than 200 human and civil rights organizations released a report today aimed at showing that, in the United States, racial profiling is all too alive and well.

"America went down this road before when it profiled Japanese Americans during World War II," said Wade Henderson, head of the D.C.-based Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

"In today's environment, when African Americans are still disproportionally targeted for traffic and drug violations and when Latinos are subject to blatant discrimination by law enforcement, Rep. King's divisive rhetoric hurts all of us," he said.

Using stats from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Justice from 2005, apparently the most recent data available, the Leadership Conference paints a picture of racial profiling and discrimination across the country.

According to the report, black drivers were twice as likely to be arrested during a traffic stop as white drivers, and Hispanic drivers were more likely than white or black drivers to receive a ticket.

The report also showed that police searched black and Hispanic drivers roughly three times more often than white motorists.

Referring to King's upcoming hearings, Wade stated, "We should strive to identify terrorists by their behavior rather than by their religion, race or ethnicity."

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