LaRose by any other color?

Sonali Kudva

Thank Colleen LaRose. The 46-year-old, white, Anglo-Saxon, blue-eyed woman has contributed a lot toward the argument for racial profiling as a device to fight terrorism.

In the wake of 9/11, pundits such as Ann Coulter and others were quick to advocate the concept of racial profiling to curb terrorism from continuing to spread its poison. Well to those advocates of racial profiling: Race was never the problem. Discrimination was never the solution. And all brown people are not terrorists.

As I waited to board the Delta Air Lines flight from London to Atlanta in January, I had to go through an extra pat-down security check at the gate just prior to boarding the aircraft. I got to talking with the woman who went through my bag. We both agreed that this was extra work for them and annoying to those of us that don’t intend to carry explosives in our underwear (sorry, I still can’t get over the thought of “explosive” underwear. Juvenile, but I still find that hilarious somehow). Sadly, we both agreed it was necessary for those who do.

What struck me as I finished and went on to sit and chat on the phone for those few minutes before last call, was that everyone who held up an American passport was exempt from this extra pat-down.

I’m going to resist the temptation to say anything about the stupidity of whoever made up that rule and, instead, hold up Exhibit A: Jihad Jane, an American citizen, a home-grown threat involved in a plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist for daring to depict the prophet Mohammed as a dog.

Racial profiling did not and would not have helped to trace her. LaRose converted to Islam and became increasingly fanatical in her beliefs as time went by. She kept her beliefs to herself, even hiding them from her live-in boyfriend. She was only caught when she stole his passport, intending to give it to one of her fellow conspirators to enter the United States.

It is indeed a global village. LaRose’s activities only became known to the authorities through her moniker on the Internet, that of “Jihad Jane,” and her unsubtle expressions of willingness to “die or kill” for the cause. Being an American, she could travel to many countries freely sans a lot of paperwork. Jihad Jane was recruited and communicated with her overseas conspirators via the Internet.

Terrorism knows no boundaries. Hate has no color preferences. Belief does not define good or bad. And race does not indicate terrorism.

Sonali Kudva is a journalism graduate student and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].