Monday, January 12, 2015

The Muslims Are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror by Arun Kundnani.

The Muslims Are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror by Arun Kundnani. Paperback book published by Verso 2014, 329 pages.

Following the killing of Osama bin Laden, polls showed that the public was more anxious about terrorism after his death than before. The new front in the War on Terror became the “homegrown enemy,” domestic terrorists who are the focus of sprawling counterterrorism structures of policing and surveillance in the United States and across Europe. Undercover officers and informants have spied on 30 mosques in New York alone. Surveillance has grown explosively—at least 100,000 Muslims in America have been secretly investigated in recent years—and in incredible detail—counter-terrorism agents have a file on every Moroccan taxi driver in New York City. British police compiled a secret suspect list of more than 8,000 al-Qaeda “sympathizers”, and included almost 300 children 15 and under on its list of suspected extremists, while MI5 doubled in size in just five years. Based on several years of research and reportage from Texas and New York to Yorkshire, and written in engrossing, precise prose, this is the first comprehensive critique of counter-radicalization strategies. The new policy and policing campaigns have been backed by an anti-extremism industry of newly minted experts, and by examining the ideas of even liberal commentators like Martin Amis, Paul Berman, and Timothy Garton Ash, the book also looks at the way these debates have been transformed by the embrace of a narrowly configured and ill-conceived anti-extremism.”

The world is a sad and complicated place. I decided to write about this book at this point in time for obvious reasons, but I don't really know what to say other than these issues are complex and difficult at times to fully grasp or comprehend particularly if one isn't actively involved*. This book raises some interesting questions and reading through the publishers blurb, I can't help but think about the people who aren't being watched or investigated, that is those that do want to do harm... and more importantly those that have done harm. It's always a few bad apples who give the rest a bad reputation which I guess is why Islamic communities around the world are being so vocal at this point in time. Despite 3 million people marching through the streets of Paris, I don't think this will stop the bad apples from doing bad again. You can have as many dodgy world leaders (there were a few there) holding hands in unity (a few were obviously not standing next to each other), but I didn't see any ISIS leaders there and by the information at hand, it is these people who need to hold hands with the rest of the world instead of shooting at it.

*There have been no terrorist attacks here in Clunes in the last 142 years.

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