A new national poll challenges the view that Arab Americans were the only
victims of bias and profiling after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
A survey conducted by Florida-based Bendixen & Associates found that
Pakistani Americans reported higher levels of discrimination and government
targeting than Americans of Arab descent.
About 31 percent of Pakistani Americans said they have experienced
discrimination in their schools, workplaces or neighborhoods over the past
three years. Twenty-one percent of Arab Americans made the claim.
When it came to profiling, 16 percent of Pakistani Americans said they had
been mistreated or targeted by government officials because of their
background, compared with 11 percent of Arab Americans.
Asked who did the profiling, 63 percent of Pakistani Americans said it was
local police. Among Arab Americans, 36 percent said they had been targeted
by airport security, and 21 percent answered that they had been targeted by
The head of the polling company, Sergio Bendixen, said one reason why
Pakistanis reported higher levels of profiling by police officers may be
because they, in general, tend to have darker skin than Arab Americans, and
therefore may raise the suspicions of some people in law enforcement.
Others said that religion may be a factor. The vast majority of Pakistani
Americans are Muslims, while at least half of the Arab-American population
is Christian, experts say.
“I think it has more to do with faith rather than ethnicity,” said Haaris
Ahmad, an attorney of Pakistani descent who is a board member of the
Michigan chapter of the Council of American Islamic Relations. “It clearly
shows that being Muslim is more of a liability rather than being Arab per se.”
The poll, released Thursday, was done for Amnesty International and New