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Religious discrimination?

The Guardian has a headline today (24th May), 'Asians are 42 times more likely to be held under terror laws'. The article goes on to say,

Despite official claims that profiling on the basis of ethnicity is banned by the police, the official figures give strength to the argument that people are having their human rights infringed on the basis of what they look like and which god they pray to.

In 2009 the National Policing Improvement Agency issued guidelines to officers about the use of the power, warning against ethnic profiling.

"Examining officers must take particular care to ensure that the selection of people for examination is not based solely on their perceived ethnic background or religion," the agency said. "The powers must be exercised in a manner that does not discriminate ... to do so would be unlawful."

The guidelines make clear that ethnic profiling would damage the police: "Officers should be aware that the way in which people are selected has a potentially far-reaching effect on the public and their acceptance of counter-terrorism powers.

"Misuse of the powers can damage the relationship between the police and sections of the public."

But even some serving officers say the official selection criteria given to police makes it more likely officers will seek out those linked to Muslim communities.

Could it be reasonably and humanely argued that it is simply cost-effective to select for further examination those people who (though usually innocent like most people selected for screening) are statistically more likely to be terrorists on the basis of the god they pray to?




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