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The Muslims Are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror

Powerful critique of US surveillance of Muslims and prosecution of homegrown terrorism
The new front in the War on Terror is the “homegrown enemy,” domestic terrorists who have become the focus of sprawling counterterrorism structures of policing and surveillance in the United States and across Europe. Domestic surveillance has mushroomed – at least 100,000 Muslims in America have been secretly under scrutiny. British police compiled a secret suspect list of more than 8,000 al-Qaeda “sympathizers,” and in another operation included almost 300 children fifteen and under among the potential extremists investigated. MI5 doubled in size in just five years.

Based on several years of research and reportage, in locations as disperate as Texas, New York and Yorkshire, and written in engrossing, precise prose, this is the first comprehensive critique of counterradicalization strategies. The new policy and policing campaigns have been backed by an industry of freshly minted experts and liberal commentators. The Muslims Are Coming! looks at the way these debates have been transformed by the embrace of a narrowly configured and ill-conceived antiextremism.

Reviews

  • “A bold new look at the much discussed issue of surveillance, documenting how it impacts the communities most affected – American and British Muslims. With incisive reporting from across the US and the UK, combined with trenchant analysis, Arun Kundnani captures what it feels like to be a ‘suspect population.’”
  • “Measuring his ideas against global terror experts, Kundnani offers hard alternatives to international security agencies, policing trends, and options for reasonable dissent in his thoughtful, rational plea to curb the War on Terror.”

Blog

  • 'Religion: a private affair?' A rebuttal of a commonplace idea by Christine Delphy

    The author of Close to Home: A Materialist Analysis of Women’s Oppression and the forthcoming Dominating Others: Feminism and Racism after the War on Terror interrogates the new French state secularism.


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  • The Red Flag and the Tricolore by Alain Badiou

    Alain Badiou analyses the events of the Charlie Hebdo attack in their global and national contexts, making the case for the incompatibility of the red flag of communism with the Tricolore of French national identity.


    1. Background: the world situation

    Today the figure of global capitalism has taken over the entire world. The world is subject to the ruling international oligarchy and enslaved to the abstraction of money – the only recognised universal. Our own time is the painful interval between the end of the second historic stage of the communist Idea (the unsustainable, terroristic construction of a ‘state communism’) and its third stage (the communism that realises the politics of ‘emancipating humanity as a whole’ in a manner adequate to the real). A mediocre intellectual conformism has established itself in this context – a both plaintive and complacent form of resignation that goes hand in hand with the lack of any future. Any future, that is, other than rolling out what already exists in repetitive fashion.

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  • Arun Kundnani's The Muslims are Coming! looks at the victims of the domestic War on Terror



    The avalanche of opinion that followed the attacks on Charlie Hebdo contained the familiar tropes of a post-9/11 discussion on radical Islam—good Muslims and bad Muslims, distorted interpretations of the Qur’an, and the threat of homegrown terror. Arun Kundnani, author of The Muslims Are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism, and the War on Terror, writes that these reactions fall into two camps; the “culturalist” view, championed by the Bush Administration and Bill Maher alike, that sees Islam as a monolithic culture inherently opposed to secular values, and the “reformist” view, championed by liberals, that seeks to recuperate an authentic and apolitical Islam from extremist interpretations. Both camps define a reified Islamic culture as the object of intervention; the politics of empire and race are absent, as is any sense of history.

    In the current climate of Islamophobia, a further entrenchment of the security state seems inevitable. In his discussion of the War on Terror at home, Kundnani tells the stories of Muslims targeted by programs of surveillance, entrapment, and coercion on both sides of the Atlantic. 

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