Middle Eastern profiling in today's political climate needs to be addressed. Using race and ethnicity as a factor of a description can be helpful, but using it as a broad predictor of the suspect is a waste of investigative efforts and will prove to be ineffective. "Records revealed that 79 percent of people investigated came from nations with majority Muslim populations. Furthermore, very few targets of the investigation were ultimately charged with any crime. Those who did face charges were typically accused of immigration violations but not of posing threats to national security." ("Racial Profiling: Everyday Inequality"- Alison Behnke)
And, today's profiling raises costs of police and security. Race is too broad of a category, and too dependent on social definitions, to be of much use in searching for criminal suspects. If officials focus on the race of an individual when searching, it can become a distraction from the reality of the situation (Zakaria et al, 2002).
There is not one definition of what a terrorist looks like. There are constant efforts to stop, question, and search people who "look like" suspects, when the vast majority of whom are hard working, tax paying citizens. Private citizens have made Middle Eastern appearance an important criterion in deciding how to react to those who look different around them. The profiling of Arabs and Muslims assumes that we need to worry about only one type of terrorist.
One cannot simply define a terrorist. The most deadly terrorist attack before 9/11 was by two white males and they received no profiling efforts. And, the rates of successful searches were lower for minorities than they were for whites. Focusing on race and ethnicity keeps police attention on a set of surface details that tell us very little, and it draws officers' attention away from what is much more important and concrete: conduct.