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With a squeaky voice and barely standing taller than the podium, Toledo University Professor David Harris does not appear to be a major voice against political injustice.

But Monday afternoon, Harris was the keynote speaker at a lecture and discussion session dealing with the changing dynamics of the struggle against racial profiling in the aftermath of terrorism.

The event was sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union. About 50 people of various ethnicities attended the two-hour session, held at the Wanamaker Building in Center City.

Harris emphasized how the mainstream view of racial profiling has evolved since the terrorists attacks.

"After September 11, about 60 percent of Americans feel racial profiling is appropriate provided it is to Arab Americans in airports," Harris said.

Harris, who is white, tried to demonstrate why profiling Arabs in airports is inefficient and detrimental.

"Using profiling is a shortcut, [and al-Qaeda] change[s] their tactics especially when they know the shortcuts we're taking," Harris said. "Our enemy is murderous and vicious, but they are smart and adaptive."

Harris made his presentation yesterday not only to support civil liberties, but also to publicize his book, Profiles in Justice: Why Racial Profiling Cannot Work. Harris is in the middle of a 13-city tour that concludes March 25 in Detroit.

His book, which was written before the September attacks, deals with the myths and realities of racial profiling.

In his presentation, Harris briefly outlined many of the book's ideas.

"If we use race and ethnicity now as criteria for suspects, we take our eyes off the ball, and we put our eyes on what is only skin deep," Harris said.

To enhance his lecture, Harris displayed several charts and graphs showing statistics on crime, arrests and race that supported his claims.

Harris' presentation was immediately followed by several others, in which speakers shared their views on racial profiling.

King Downey, who serves as the national director of the ACLU Campaign Against Racial Profiling, expressed ideas similar to Harris'.

"We don't want to go down the same road with Arab Americans as we did with African Americans," Downey said.

Many other speakers made remarks, but one of the most heartfelt comments came from Marwan Kreidie, an Arab American who expressed his personal beliefs.

"We are the weakest link in the civil rights chain," Kreidie said. "We were being profiled before September 11, and it didn't work because 19 terrorists still got on those planes."

The event was followed by a question-and-answer period. Many audience members had a grasp of the issue and were generally accepted of Harris' view on racial profiling.

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