When Profiling Doesn’t Work

Paulin-Ramirez left and LaRose right

Paulin-Ramirez left and LaRose right

The issue of racial profiling to stop terrorist attacks was made more complicated last week when the arrest of Colleen LaRose was made public and Jamie Paulin-Ramirez was arrested. LaRose and Paulin-Ramirez, both American, were arrested for being involved in a  plot to kill the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks for his depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in 2007.

The cases of LaRose, who called herself “Jihad Jane,” and Paulin-Ramirez, dubbed “Jihad Jamie” by the media, raise the issue of how effective  racial profiling is. Both women are Americans who had converted to Islam and allegedly planned to kill Vilks.  The fact that these two women do not fit the stereotypical profile of a terrorist underscores the fact that there really is not one definition. We saw this also with Joseph Stack’s attack on the IRS building. Continue reading