Annual Meeting

Religious Profiling Is Condemned in Resolution

The ABA House of Delegates has amended its policy against racial and ethnic profiling by police to state that religious profiling should also be banned.

The House passed the amendment on Tuesday in Resolution 116. The revised policy calls on governments to bar racial, ethnic and religious profiling, but says those characteristics can be considered when “justified by specific or articulable facts suggesting that an individual may be engaged in criminal behavior.”

A report to the House says adding religion to ABA policy against profiling will help avoid perceptions that the law does not operate fairly. “Like profiling on the basis of race or ethnicity, profiling on the basis of religion—i.e., considering a person’s religion in deciding whether to subject that person to law enforcement scrutiny—burdens entire groups with unwanted and unjustified police attention,” the report says.

The report cites a “pattern of targeting Muslims for special scrutiny” since the Sept. 11 attacks, including the use of FBI informants to infiltrate mosques. “Evidence is mounting that such infiltration has occurred even in the absence of any specific leads or other reasons to suspect criminal activity,” the report says. Muslims also report being interrogated about their religious views in secondary screening interviews when they return from international travel, according to the report.

The report also refers to a series of Associated Press stories about New York Police Department efforts to track Muslim activity, including the use of so-called mosque crawlers to infiltrate mosques and monitor sermons.

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