Poll: 'Middle Eastern' Travelers Should be Singled Out


AMERICANS BACK ANTI-TERRORISM RACIAL PROFILING: POLL

BOSTON (Reuters) - Most Americans expect a terrorist attack on the United States in the next few months and support the screening of people who look "Middle Eastern" at airports and train stations, a poll showed on Tuesday.

The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute said 62 percent of Americans were "very worried" or "somewhat worried" that terrorists would strike the nation in the next few months while 37 percent were "not too worried" or "not worried at all."

The poll of 1,080 voters, conducted August 17-23, comes as many Americans are jittery after British authorities foiled a plot to blow up planes but is broadly in line with other surveys on expectations for another attack since September 11.

By a 60 percent to 37 percent margin, respondents said authorities should single out people who look "Middle Eastern" for security screening at locations such as airports and train stations -- a finding that drew sharp criticism by civil liberties groups.

"It's an unfortunate by-product to the fear and hysteria we're hearing in many quarters," said Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights and advocacy organization.

"It's one of those things that makes people think they are doing something to protect themselves when they're not. They're in fact producing more insecurity by alienating the very people whose help is necessary in the war on terrorism," he said.

 


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