In the aftermath of 9/11, governments around the world swung into action trying to ensure that their polices agencies were able to root out all terrorist threats within their communities. These efforts usually included passing some form of stop-and-search laws, whether it was people being taken aside for ‘random’ searches at airports, or being stopping in the street and having their bags searched.
At the time, there were lots of complaints that racial profiling was being used, and that Muslim communities around the world were being unfairly targeted by the new laws, or at least their implementation. Now, it turns out, in the UK at least, police have addressed these concerns, not, as you might expect, by ceasing to unfairly target the Muslim community, but by randomly searching non-Muslims to make up the numbers.
Examples of poor use of section 44 abounded. “I have evidence of cases where the person stopped is so obviously far from any known terrorism profile that, realistically, there is not the slightest possibility of him/her being a terrorist, and no other feature to justify the stop.”
He later said that while the police should not discriminate racially, it was equally important that they should not balance the statistics. “If, for example, 50 blonde women are stopped who fall nowhere near any intelligence-led terrorism profile, it’s a gross invasion of the civil liberties of those 50 blonde women.
“The police are perfectly entitled to stop people who fall within a terrorism profile even if it creates a racial imbalance, as long as it is not racist.”
So, rather than come up with a terrorist profile which is more in-depth than “is a Muslim”, the cops just hassle people who don’t match any terrorist profile to mask the fact that they’re continuing to unfairly target Muslims.