A global search is on for the baddest of the bad guys. They’re accused of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, attempted air piracy, and murders of U.S. citizens.
Ads and bus boards offering up to $25 million rewards to find 16 international terrorists started showing up in the Puget Sound area, but there’s a problem.
Washington Congressman Jim McDermott says the campaign is offensive to Muslims and ethnic minorities and encourages racial profiling.
“Though civilian vigilance is important to the fight against terror, stereotypes of what a terrorist looks like – or who they worship – are not only wrong, they make us blind to threats that fall outside our limited notions,” McDermott says in a letter sent to the FBI director this week.
“From the ‘Army of God’ attacking abortion clinics to Eric Rudolph’s anti-gay motivated bombings, it is foolish to believe that terrorism only comes from one religion or one color of people.”
McDermott has represented the Seattle-area for 24 years in Congress and has run with little or no opposition in most of his elections over the past decade.
He writes in this letter the ads will “exacerbate the disturbing trend of hate crimes against Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Muslim-Americans.”
McDermott also points out the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list includes people of other races, “but their faces are missing from this campaign.”
Do you think it encourages racial profiling and stereotypes?
The wanted campaign is an effort from the Puget Sound Joint Terrorism Task Force.
It launched the effort earlier this month, by distributing the number 1-800-US-REWARDS on billboards, airport displays and buses.
In addition to the ad, McDermott is concerned about, two other images the campaign features. One shows a U.S. flag and a stack of money, while the other shows smiling children and states “the most important reason to stop a terrorist isn’t the reward.”
By LINDA THOMAS