Amid reports that Pakistani Americans are increasingly identifying themselves as Indians in the aftermath of the Times Square bombing attempt, a top US official today ruled out "racial profiling", saying it is not a helpful law enforcement measure.
After the arrest of Pakistani American Faisal Shahzad on Monday on charges of plotting a bomb attack at the Times Square, some members of the Pakistani diaspora, particularly in New York, had said they feared a backlash on identifying themselves as Pakistani Americans.
"I don't think that profiling is good law enforcement," US Attorney General Eric Holder told the NBC news channel when asked if US is going for racial profiling of Pakistani-Americans in view of the Times Square incident.
"You ought to pay attention to the person who you have a suspicion about. A person who you have a basis to believe wants to do harm to our nation," Holder argued.
"If you look at the arrests that we made in Pennsylvania of white women, those were people who were bound and determined to do something very negative and with regards to the United States. Racial profiling would not have picked those people up," he said.
Soon after the Times Square incident the New York Mayor had warned against any backlash against the Pakistani Americans, who live in large numbers in the City, particularly in the two neighbourhoods of Brooklyn and Jackson Heights, which also has the highest concentration of Indian Americans.
In fact, Jackson Heights is known as Little India - because of the large number of Indian Americans living here.
Earlier in the aftermath of 9/11 too, there were reports of members of Pakistani-Americans posing themselves as Indians.
A few weeks ago, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P J Crowley had said that Pakistani-Americans should emulate Indian Americans in building relationship between the two countries.
Meanwhile, several Pakistani American groups have come forward to condemn the Times Square bomb plot and acknowledged that the incident brought a bad name to the community.
In a statement Pakistani American Public Affairs Committee (PAKPAC) condemned the failed terror bid.
"PAKPAC is shocked and saddened to learn that the prime suspect is of Pakistani heritage. Though details of the case are still being uncovered and investigations are on going, we denounce this attempted attack on our soil and seek that this individual or any accomplice, to be tried and punished under American Judicial system," it said.
"Whether this is an act of a lone individual or a group, it harms everyone and benefits no one. As a community, we should have zero tolerance for such acts as they damage and disrupt the way of life of Americans," PAKPAC said.
In California, Bashir Choudry, president of Pakistani American Association of Sacramento, expressed sadness that another Pakistani American has been linked to terrorism.
The community will do whatever it takes to root out terrorism, he said.
There are about 15,000 Pakistani Americans in Sacramento.
No Racial Profiling in Aftermath of Times Square: US
Lalit K Jha/Washington
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