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Death came instantly to Imam Luqman, as four FBI agents fired semi-automatic rifles at him from a few feet away. Another sixty officers surrounded the building on that October morning, the culmination of a two-year undercover investigation that had infiltrated the imam’s Detroit mosque. The FBI quickly claimed that Luqman Abdullah was “the leader of a domestic terrorist gr Death came instantly to Imam Luqman, as four FBI agents fired semi-automatic rifles at him from a few feet away. Another sixty officers surrounded the building on that October morning, the culmination of a two-year undercover investigation that had infiltrated the imam’s Detroit mosque. The FBI quickly claimed that Luqman Abdullah was “the leader of a domestic terrorist group.” And yet, caught on tape, he had refused to help “do something” violent, as it might injure innocents, and no terrorism charges were ever lodged against him. Jameel Scott thought he was exercising his rights when he went to challenge an Israeli official’s lecture at Manchester University. But the teenager’s presence at the protest with fellow socialists made him the subject of police surveillance for the next two years. Counterterrorism agents visited his parents, his relatives, his school. They asked him for activists’ names and told him not to attend demonstrations. They called his mother and told her to move the family to another neighborhood. Although he doesn’t identify as Muslim, Jameel had become another face of the presumed homegrown terrorist. 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 disparate 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.


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Death came instantly to Imam Luqman, as four FBI agents fired semi-automatic rifles at him from a few feet away. Another sixty officers surrounded the building on that October morning, the culmination of a two-year undercover investigation that had infiltrated the imam’s Detroit mosque. The FBI quickly claimed that Luqman Abdullah was “the leader of a domestic terrorist gr Death came instantly to Imam Luqman, as four FBI agents fired semi-automatic rifles at him from a few feet away. Another sixty officers surrounded the building on that October morning, the culmination of a two-year undercover investigation that had infiltrated the imam’s Detroit mosque. The FBI quickly claimed that Luqman Abdullah was “the leader of a domestic terrorist group.” And yet, caught on tape, he had refused to help “do something” violent, as it might injure innocents, and no terrorism charges were ever lodged against him. Jameel Scott thought he was exercising his rights when he went to challenge an Israeli official’s lecture at Manchester University. But the teenager’s presence at the protest with fellow socialists made him the subject of police surveillance for the next two years. Counterterrorism agents visited his parents, his relatives, his school. They asked him for activists’ names and told him not to attend demonstrations. They called his mother and told her to move the family to another neighborhood. Although he doesn’t identify as Muslim, Jameel had become another face of the presumed homegrown terrorist. 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 disparate 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.

30 review for The Muslims are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    REVIVED REVIEW Here's a book I really recommend for non-Muslims. In the present poisonous atmosphere of revenge mosque attacks and rising kneejerk Islamophobia we really need this author's brave cool perspectives. I don't think that Arun Kundnani has many answers, but he shows precisely why we have found ourselves in this tragic situation. **** ORIGINAL REVIEW from April 2014 Muslims are never out of the news in Britain. This week, the story is that a group of Muslims is trying to secretly take over REVIVED REVIEW Here's a book I really recommend for non-Muslims. In the present poisonous atmosphere of revenge mosque attacks and rising kneejerk Islamophobia we really need this author's brave cool perspectives. I don't think that Arun Kundnani has many answers, but he shows precisely why we have found ourselves in this tragic situation. **** ORIGINAL REVIEW from April 2014 Muslims are never out of the news in Britain. This week, the story is that a group of Muslims is trying to secretly take over schools in Birmingham in order to Islamicise the teaching (“operation Trojan Horse”); but concerns about Sharia courts, FGM in Somali communities, forced marriage, the wearing of the burkha, segregation in Northern cities, and jihad-preaching clerics who can’t be deported for years bubble around constantly in the press. I was keen to read this book and see what an overview of the current unfortunate situation looked like. What I got was both more and less that what I was hoping for. Arun Kundnani certainly reinforced my prejudices on one topic – these damned political books are written in graceless, clogged, stogged and almost indigestible prose. If you want more-than-page-long paragraphs, look no further; we have many for you right here. And you have to be able to cope with sentences like this: Like today’s liberal analysts of extremism, liberal analysts of totalitarianism constructed political threats as external ideological intrusions into an essentially benign Western cultural space, failing to acknowledge their own positioning as participants in violent political conflicts. Got that? Okay, good. (AK does have another completely different style, where he gives crisp, eye-opening surveys of stories from the news you may have missed, and these passages were most welcome when they came along!) EXPLANATION OF THE TITLE Nothing to do with the recent American comedy, it actually refers to a 1966 movie called The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming! In this movie a Russian submarine is grounded on the American coast near a small village, and the locals think it’s a Communist invasion. However, when the confusion is sorted out, the Russians turn out to be nice regular guys with families and all, just like Americans – so long as they never mention a single word about politics. So Prof. Kundnani’s point is that the West is just fine with Muslims, so long as they don’t mention one word about politics. This book is about the experiences of America and Britain. The Muslim population of each country is vastly different (e.g. he says “the majority of American Muslims – perhaps as many as 80% - do not attend mosques and have a secular outlook” – a zinger which I found very surprising) but both governments are conducting an internal campaign against perceived extremists, and of course both countries have a significant terror attack in the recent past from which all this springs. THE TWO WESTERN ATTITUDES TO ISLAM ACCORDING TO THIS BOOK First is the conservative response to 9/11 and its fallout. This belief says that Islam itself is the problem, that Islam is intrinsically pre-modern, has never experienced a cultural Enlightenment, as did Christianity, has no conception of the secular, is essentially totalitarian, violent and implacably hostile to Western values. (AK calls believers in this argument Culturalists.) This is a pessimistic attitude – the famous phrase “clash of civilisations” sums it up. All it can do is expect trouble. Do Culturalists hope that one day Islam will disappear in a puff of smoke like the USSR? Whatever, they appear to be happy to dig in for a very long and bitter struggle. AK pointedly says: For culturalists there is only one political act that Muslim fellow citizens can perform without suspicion : rejection of their own Muslim identity. Second is the liberal attitude (the “Reformists”), which says that Islam is essentially benign and peaceful and has no problem co-existing with the West, however, some really bad Muslims have fabricated a violently anti-Western jihadi mutation of Islam which appears to fulfil some political/psychological needs for a very small number of young Muslims, and these jihadis must be identified, isolated and purged. So we need to help Muslims to fumigate their own communities. During a presentation to military officers at the Joint Forces Staff College in 2011, Lt-Col Matthew Dooley said : Islam must change or we will facilitate its self-destruction. Question : was the lieutenant-colonel a Culturalist or a Reformer? Answer: Although he talks tough, he’s a liberal reformer – conservative Culturalists believe Islam can never change! I hope you all got that right. So, what governments want Muslims to do is to be good Muslims, and AK brilliantly sums it up like this : To be classed as moderate Muslims must forget what they know about Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan… they are supposed to see themselves as liberal individuals but also declare an allegiance to the national collective; they are meant o put their capacity for reason above blind faith but not let it lead to criticisms of the west; and they have to publicly condemn using violence to achieve political ends – except when our own governments do so. No wonder moderate Muslims are said to be hard to find. SELF-STARTERS AND AGENTS PROVOCATEUR Right now, you can easily see the toxic mix which leads to these outbreaks of terrorism. Once the CIA and MI5 realized that there is now no grand puppet-master like bin Laden, no Islamic Goldfinger, no al-Qaeda, the Islamic Smersh, and that terrorism in the West today, 14 years after 9/11, is by self-starters like Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale (murder of Lee Rigby, May 2013) and Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Boston Marathon, April 2013), and also by Anders Breivik, Mr Mirror Image, they begin to understand the difficulty in fighting this enemy. Most of AK’s book consists of accounts of the ways that first the Bush/Blair culturalists and then the Obama/Cameron reformists have flailed around trying to smother extremism like a bunch of over-exited forest rangers trying to find the four pyromaniacs hiding behind one of ten thousand redwood trees. Some of what they do has been dreadful, such as the use of agents provocateur, whereby idiots are persuaded to do idiotic things which they never would have done & are then arrested and jailed for 25 years. In one such case Judge Colleen McMahon said: Only the government could have made a terrorist out of Mr Cromitie, a man whose buffoonery is positively Shakespearean in its scope… I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that there would have been no crime here except the government instigated it, planned it, and brought it to fruition. At this point, just to lighten the discussion, I recommend a British film called Four Lions, which is a comedy about British would-be jihadis. In very bad taste, and hugely funny. I happen to know that Muslims also find it funny because unlike what you may have read, they have a GSH.* DRONING ON Educating yourself via youtube and ranting websites is not the way to a nuanced view of geopolitics. But the cartoon version of The West is not that untrue either. Did Western nations invade Afghanistan? Yes. Iraq? Yes. Did they prop up hated dictatorships in Muslim countries until the last possible moment? Yes. Do they continue to use drones and then apologise for the collateral damage later (i.e. the women and children and wedding parties) ? Yes. Guantanamo Bay? Yes. Abu Ghraib? Yes yes yes, please shut up now, we get the picture. I didn’t vote for ANY of those things, but still I don’t want some idiot considering my disconnected arms and legs as collateral damage in his home-made protest when I’m on my way to the Tate Gallery on the Victoria Line in London. IT’S ALL A BIT TOO NEAT I heartily dislike conspiracy theories, but one thing does bug me. The demise of the USSR in 1990 left a large swathe of the armed forces and the spooks with nothing to do. The famous military-industrial complex was for ten years unable to justify promoting ever-larger military budgets. Then…. out of nowhere a new enemy. I could hear the generals breathing sighs of relief from here. It was all too neat. And now the paranoid 50s are back with a bang – the John Birchers looking for reds under the beds have been replaced by the Islamophobics. Everybody’s back in business. Page 251 : By August 2010, around a quarter of Americans thought Obama was a Muslim, according to a survey for Time magazine And in a really admirable piece of fancy footwork, the right-wingers have swapped their anti-Semitism for Zionism! They make a point of saying we’re not racists, nothing like that. We just hate Islam. OKAY, SO…. ER….NOW WHAT AK describes the English Defence League’s similarity to the jihadis they are opposed to: both justify violence against a whole population deemed responsible for the violence of some of its members And he also lambasts the FBI’s attempts to identify and shut down individual extremists. So, what IS the right thing to do, given that it is not unreasonable to wish to dissuade future domestic attacks? He says : “pathological outcomes are more likely when space for the free exchange of feelings and opinion is squeezed”. Meaning that “moderate” Muslims and imams in mosques are (in America anyway) scared of associating in any way with someone espousing extreme views in case they themselves end up on some FBI list. And this allows extremism to go unchallenged. Well, in The Islamist, Ed Husain excoriates a feeble multicultural hands-off British government policy where extremist groups are allowed to do as they please in mosques and more importantly in colleges and universities. That’s just crazy, says Ed. And in his experience, no “moderate” voices were raised to challenge the extremists so they just rolled on. AK wants to see emerging in western Muslim communities “genuine emancipatory movements” which would “eschew the tactic of terrorism, because they locate themselves among the people; violence has only a defensive role in such movements”. I wasn’t convinced. It sounded like AK was relying on some vague phrases to try and avoid admitting that he doesn’t have much of an idea about what to do either. Perhaps I’m demanding the impossible but after 290 pages plus notes I was rather hoping for more than that. But I should be grateful for what I did get : a masterful essential diagnosis of the malady. *** * http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1341167/

  2. 4 out of 5

    Murtaza

    The underlying thesis of this book is that the debate about terrorism by Muslims has become overwhelmed by socio-psychological and theological analyses of its perpetrators. It is viewed as primarily a psychological, or "Islamic" phenomenon which can be explained by examining the tenets of religion or the psychological states of terrorists. As the author argues, this (very dominant) line of argument misses the forest for the trees, in that the the overwhelming majority of terrorists are at root r The underlying thesis of this book is that the debate about terrorism by Muslims has become overwhelmed by socio-psychological and theological analyses of its perpetrators. It is viewed as primarily a psychological, or "Islamic" phenomenon which can be explained by examining the tenets of religion or the psychological states of terrorists. As the author argues, this (very dominant) line of argument misses the forest for the trees, in that the the overwhelming majority of terrorists are at root radicalized by the failure and absence of a truly transformative, "radical" politics which could accommodate them. In an era of continued political, economic, social and military upheaval - when such a politics would be in great need and demand - this absence is particularly damaging. Accordingly people seeking to express opposition to the radicalized foreign policy of the post-9/11 era simply have no outlet. Expressing such opinions is likely to get someone on a watchlist or worse. There is no pressure valve, nor is there an outlet by which to achieve meaningful change in society. The millions who protested against the Iraq War for example did so wholly in vain. Faced with such a situation, many people's frustrations will manifest in an armored identity politics, milleniarian conspiracy theories, or simply a general rejection of mainstream society. A minority will turn to violence. Another point raised is the misguided attempts to make a science out of the concept of "radicalization". Doing so would allow policy responses (short of altering what has become a highly militaristic and radicalized foreign policy) to be crafted which could catch ostensible "pre-crime" by young Muslim men and women. However there is in fact no causative link between ideology and violence. This effort is essentially a means of criminalizing certain speech and thought, and justifying massive state intervention in the lives of Muslim minority populations. In effect, they can be seen as internal colonies subject to counterinsurgency operations (both hard and soft) as opposed to members of a democratic polity. These beliefs are also what underlie the frequent cases of FBI-engineered terrorism, whereby individuals expressing radical thoughts are goaded into potential acts of terror to see if their ideas had put them on a "pre-crime" route all along. Radical Islam in this view is seen almost as a "virus" which must be contained, quarantined, and treated where it appears because it will inevitably otherwise generate violence. Accordingly programs like Prevent and CVE are justified in the name of preventing the spread of this ideological virus among the young. In line with this, the British government has even announced programs to weed out supposed radical thoughts among toddlers. Not only does this claim not stand up to empirical scrutiny, it is a dangerous new terrain for government to tread in their effort to police the thoughts of their citizenry. I could go on about this book, it was a really fantastic and an enjoyable read. The description of "liberalism" as coagulating into a new form of identity politics (and from there undermining its own basic precepts of self-criticism and questioning) was particularly excellent. The author is absolutely vituperative and brilliant in tackling the orthodoxies surrounding the subject of Muslim extremism and makes a compelling case for discarding the disastrous War on Terror paradigm and the ideologies which continue to underlie it. Definitely recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tariq Mahmood

    Should radicalization considered a solution or a problem in the West? Why is radicalization increasing in a 'free' West as well as autocratic Middle East and much of the other Muslim countries? Isn't it because of lack of proper political dialogue? Why is there absolute insistence by the liberal West that Muslims are only accepted if they are completely depoliticized? Before reading this book I thought that radicalization was a direct result of disenfranchisement, but now I am convinced that rad Should radicalization considered a solution or a problem in the West? Why is radicalization increasing in a 'free' West as well as autocratic Middle East and much of the other Muslim countries? Isn't it because of lack of proper political dialogue? Why is there absolute insistence by the liberal West that Muslims are only accepted if they are completely depoliticized? Before reading this book I thought that radicalization was a direct result of disenfranchisement, but now I am convinced that radicalization occurs in a climate of gross injustice. A fundamentalist begins to feel real pain of victims but cannot discuss his pain, which compels him to act. This Western insistence on a Moderate Muslim as someone completely depoliticized and an unquestionable supporter of Western policy abroad is the main reason why a small number of Muslim youths are being radicalized. The book finishes off with a famous speech of Martin Luther King Jr in 1967..... “As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.” Terrorism is not the product of radical politics but a symptom of political impotence. The very fact of individual acts of terror, wrote Leon Trotsky, is an infallible token of the political backwardness of a country and the feebleness of the progressive forces there. This book is a must read for all Muslims living in Europe and USA........

  4. 5 out of 5

    AJourneyWithoutMap

    The Muslims Are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror by Arun Kundnani is a book that explores the domestic fronts of the war on terror in two countries - the United States and the United Kingdom. In this timely book, Arun Kundnani succinctly argues that radicalization became the lens through which the Western societies viewed the Muslim population by the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century. Without mincing words, the author stated that the political act The Muslims Are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror by Arun Kundnani is a book that explores the domestic fronts of the war on terror in two countries - the United States and the United Kingdom. In this timely book, Arun Kundnani succinctly argues that radicalization became the lens through which the Western societies viewed the Muslim population by the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century. Without mincing words, the author stated that the political act of labeling certain forms of violence as terrorism is usually a radicalized act. He also said that by using tens of billions of dollars a year to fighting a domestic threat of terrorist violence that is largely imagined, the US government has neglected the challenge of creating a genuinely peaceful society. Consider the nine chapters included in the book: An Ideal Enemy, The Politics of Anti-Extremism, The Roots of Liberal Rage, The Myth of Radicalization, Hearts and Minds, No Freedom, Postboom, Twenty-First-Century Crusaders, and Dream Not of Other Worlds. The chapters are well thought-out, and the book is well-researched. The Muslims are Coming! is based on three years of research by the author in both the US and the UK. The research was supported by the Institute of Race Relations in London and the Open Society Foundations in New York.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rae

    PopSugar Reading Challenge 2021: A book about a social justice issue This book was hard work but I'm very glad I read it as it has given me a different perspective on a number of issues. I was expecting similar points to those made in The Islamist by Ed Husain, but instead I read a searing critique of the war on terror that made me question my assumptions. Kundnani argues that the only way to be an acceptable Muslim in the West is to become apolitical. He discusses the infringements of human righ PopSugar Reading Challenge 2021: A book about a social justice issue This book was hard work but I'm very glad I read it as it has given me a different perspective on a number of issues. I was expecting similar points to those made in The Islamist by Ed Husain, but instead I read a searing critique of the war on terror that made me question my assumptions. Kundnani argues that the only way to be an acceptable Muslim in the West is to become apolitical. He discusses the infringements of human rights committed by the widespread surveillance of targeted communities, the hypocrisies with regards to how we view violent action and questions the suppositions on which the government bases its campaign to counter terrorism. Incisive, challenging and highly cerebral, this is an excellent piece of persuasive writing for those who don't mind the emotional and intellectual heavy lifting.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    An enlightening read - I wish I read it with more people to talk about it, as I'm left with questions and rants unheard. Unfortunately, people who SHOULD be reading this book will never pick it up!! An enlightening read - I wish I read it with more people to talk about it, as I'm left with questions and rants unheard. Unfortunately, people who SHOULD be reading this book will never pick it up!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michael Griswold

    Arun Kundnani in The Muslims are Coming delivers a punishing critique of the domestic War on Terror that will leave both Liberals and Conservatives (or Republicans and Democrats, if you’re in the United States ) squirming in their chairs. The central argument is that even though the reasoning behind the policies has been altered, the policies pursued as part of the War on Terror are largely the same, no matter who controls the reins of government. The end result is the same: Muslims within the U Arun Kundnani in The Muslims are Coming delivers a punishing critique of the domestic War on Terror that will leave both Liberals and Conservatives (or Republicans and Democrats, if you’re in the United States ) squirming in their chairs. The central argument is that even though the reasoning behind the policies has been altered, the policies pursued as part of the War on Terror are largely the same, no matter who controls the reins of government. The end result is the same: Muslims within the United States and United Kingdom are having the rights that most Americans and Brits take for granted violated. This violation of rights is selective according to the author, so that the average citizen would largely not notice any difference, thus explaining the lack of a public outcry over these policies. This book blends together political science with elements of philosophy and sociology to produce a critique of the War on Terror that spares no political party. It may present problems for those readers who are not used to reading academic texts that tend to be heavy on the verbiage and intricate, but for those who can get through the trees should pick this book up. An uncommon perspective on the War on Terror

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mohammed P Aslam

    Arun Kundnani's book, is a sharp, stylist and intellectually sassy piece of work with certainly more than the usual ‘anti-Muslim’ verbosity. The material focus of this book looks at how the war on terror lives on the precipice of British and American domestic policy, capturing the narrative of what it is like to be a Muslim living in an anti-Muslim West. Kundnani’s work engages in a somewhat illuminating debate set out like a series of events on the power relations between the state and its over Arun Kundnani's book, is a sharp, stylist and intellectually sassy piece of work with certainly more than the usual ‘anti-Muslim’ verbosity. The material focus of this book looks at how the war on terror lives on the precipice of British and American domestic policy, capturing the narrative of what it is like to be a Muslim living in an anti-Muslim West. Kundnani’s work engages in a somewhat illuminating debate set out like a series of events on the power relations between the state and its overwhelmingly peaceful Muslim population. The focus of this relationship emphasises a politically bias creation of Islamic radicalisation of young people. Although the mix of intelligence agencies and their spies mostly agree that this radicalisation takes the form of a bunch of disorganised and perplexed tiny and insignificant group of politically impotent adversaries. The title of the book, ‘The Muslims are Coming’ aptly sets the scene for this perplexation thus, creating an industry for radicalisation of Islam where the outcomes which may create an environment for political violence as a ritual for political dissent. The book offers a brief and probing look at Dick Cheney’s (The former US Secretary of State for Defence) favourite right wing Culturalist, Bernard Lewis who is well known for his anti-Muslim rhetoric as well as cutting a controversial figure in American neoconservative politics. Brian Whitaker from the Guardian wrote about Shaw when he said, “more recently, he has had some batty thoughts about an Islamic takeover of Europe by the end of the century - a prediction that is now widely accepted” amongst right wing circles. Kundnani aims to look at two principle concepts in his work; ‘ideology’ and ‘citizenship’ through which Muslims have been portrayed by the state machinery as what Edward Said considers in his work as ‘Orientalists’ where he describes the desperate notion through which America and Britain now consider their contemptuous depiction of Islam. The book links this imperialist portrayal of political Islam as inherently radical and obsequious. There are parts of the book which make some interesting comparisons with the cold war when the Russians were depicted similarly as the ‘Russians are Coming’ and Kundnani attempts to very cleverly offer the same bogyman as a public threat to Western values. This is where Kundnani wrote the words of the Boston Bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: “The US government is killing our innocent civilians… I can’t stand to see evil go unpunished… we Muslims are one body, you hurt one, you hurt all of us… stop killing our people and we will stop”. The same reasoning was given in the UK, when Kundnani wrote the words of the killers of the British Solider Lee Rigby: “The only reason we killed this man is because Muslims are dying by British soldiers and this soldier is one of them… and we will never stop fighting until you leave us alone”. These dramatic stories have caused significant constellation and show no sign of waning and this is the whole point that Kundnani makes throughout his book. His work offers a detailed account of the claims that American and British Muslims have mostly failed to integrate themselves. Whilst this may be true, but the book also confirms the principle reasons being unemployment, low educational achievements, economic and political poverty, discrimination and social stigmas of being a Muslim. Dean Obeidallah, an Arab-American columnist for the Daily Beast, describes the American Muslim experience very well when he said: “it’s so weird. Before 9/11, I am just a white (Arab) guy, living a typical white guy’s life, all my friends had names like Monica, Chandler, Joey and Ross… I go to bed on September 10th, wake up on the 11th, I am an Arab”. The key conversation being evaluated in the book is linked to the idea of ‘why cannot Islam adjust to modernity and secularism in an attempt by the West to separate the state from religion (Islam). This is where Bernard Shaw and others like Samuel Huntingdon are at one when they attempt to link ‘Muslim Rage’ (an essay by Bernard Shaw) to fundamentalism, war and violence. The West fail to grasp that the anger and pain suffered by Muslims is not about hate of the Western values and it certainly isn’t about conquering the West. The American and British governments have completely failed to understand the Momin’s (Muslim believer) intrinsic belief in his faith and consequently, a Momin cannot be diminished towards believing in a lesser god like figure and calling it materialistic secularism. Therefore, if a Momin conviction believes in the Truth, secularism is not and cannot be compatible with modernity, just like state separation from religion is not possible without losing the ethical and moral values of one’s belief in God. The terms such as secularism and modernity are used by the West to pacify one’s loss in their Judeo-Christian belief and this cannot be superimposed transversely on the Islamic faith. Kundnani critiques how the state sets up covert operations and torturing and jailing innocent American and British Muslims by creating ‘shock and awe’ enough to eradicate radicalisation of Muslims. Jamie McIntyre, a CNN journalist, comments that this was also the theme used by Donald Rumsfeld on their invasion of Iraq, where the US also referred to "shock and awe" as a go-to-phase for the US war plan in Iraq and we can see retrospectively how that worked out for the allied forces. Over a million people died and the country continues to be run by criminals. Except this time, they are our criminals (sic!) Kundnani sets out a comprehensive outline of the style used by the US domestic intelligence agencies to entrap innocent Somali American Muslims in Minnesota leading to false and unreliable criminal convictions on terrorism related activities. Consequently, leading to Anti-Muslim hysteria mostly whipped up by the media, the entertainment industry, and a state vocabulary that considered pipe bombs as ‘weapons of mass destruction’ when used by Muslims. The final chapter aptly named the Twenty First Century Crusaders discusses the new European far-right's embrace of Zionism. This bizarre change of fortune has now become Islamophobic rather than anti-Semitic. In the debased mind of the far right, there is a creeping introduction of Sharia Law entering the European psyche through scaremongering the masses by ascribing Islam to have mystic powers to secretly control the West’s political apparatus and its people; while Islam is considered as a backward seventh century ideology whose followers constitute a dangerously perilous barbarian underclass. Britain’s English Defence League captures the essence of hate towards Islam and Muslims where Kundnani highlights the challenges that are faced both by the government and the Muslim community. It was only in 2015 the BBC reported that David Cameron, the previous British Prime Minister said, there are "a swarm of people (Muslims) coming across the Mediterranean, seeking a better life”. This led to the PM retracting his comments on his use of inappropriate style of language. The BBC went on to report that the UN Special Representative for International Migration accused British politicians of adopting a "xenophobic response" to the crisis and said their language had been "grossly excessive". Encouraged by the British media, the Far-Right disingenuously sprout falsehoods regularly supported by a corrupt political class who claim that the continent has been signed over to Muslim domination through immigration, birth rates and multiculturalism. At one extreme, this brand of rhetoric invites anti-terror politics soon arrives of its own with an Anders Breivik-style terrorism. Mohammed P Aslam

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nandakishore Mridula

    I have not read the book, but plan to do so soon. -------------------------------------------------- From Wikipedia: Islam is the fastest-growing religion in India. The ratio of young children (aged 0–6) to the total population is also significantly higher among Muslims than Hindus in India. Demographers have put forward several factors behind high birthrates among Muslims in India. Sociologists point out that religious factors can explain high Muslim birthrates. Surveys indicate that Muslims in In I have not read the book, but plan to do so soon. -------------------------------------------------- From Wikipedia: Islam is the fastest-growing religion in India. The ratio of young children (aged 0–6) to the total population is also significantly higher among Muslims than Hindus in India. Demographers have put forward several factors behind high birthrates among Muslims in India. Sociologists point out that religious factors can explain high Muslim birthrates. Surveys indicate that Muslims in India have been relatively far less willing to adopt family planning measures and that Muslim girls get married at a much younger age compared to Indian girls. According to Paul Kurtz, Muslims in India are much more resistant to modern contraceptive measures compared to other Indians and, as a consequence, the decline in fertility rate among non-Muslim women is much higher compared to that of Muslim women. According to a 2006 committee appointed by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, if the current trend continues, by the end of the 21st century India's Muslim population will reach 320 to 340 million people (or 18-19% of India's total projected population). By 2011, it is estimated that Muslims are 17.7 crore (or 14.6% of India's population). India has more Muslims than any other country in the world, except Pakistan and Indonesia. From Time: An Indian Member of Parliament with a history of controversial remarks caused another stir on Tuesday, saying in a speech that every Hindu woman should produce at least four children in order to “protect” the religion. Addressing a gathering in the north Indian town of Meerut, MP Sakshi Maharaj told a crowd that “the concept of four wives and 40 children will not work in India and the time has come when a Hindu woman must produce at least four children in order to protect Hindu religion,” the Times of India reported. From The New Indian Express: Putting the Bharatiya Janata Party into a more embarrassing situation, another party leader from West Bengal said on Tuesday that every Hindu women should produce at least five children. While talking at a public meeting, Shyamal Goswami said if Hindu women don't have at least five children, there will be no population balance in India in the future. "If my Hindu mothers and sisters don't have five children, hardly any Hindus will be left in India. To protect Hinduism and Sanatan Dharma, it is necessary for all Hindus to give birth to 5 children," Goswami said. The Muslims are coming. The MUSLIMS are COMING! THE MUSLIMS ARE COMING!!!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    A clear-minded and thorough examination of the shortcomings in current approaches used to combat Islamic extremism in Europe and the US, particularly the refusal to tackle the political motivations of those involved (rather than the cultural or theological). Kundnani's analysis exposes our inability to learn from the paranoia fuelled excesses of McCarthyism and how, in the name of fighting Al Qaeda and others, we are replicating and in some cases exceeding the levels of fear, intimidation and ov A clear-minded and thorough examination of the shortcomings in current approaches used to combat Islamic extremism in Europe and the US, particularly the refusal to tackle the political motivations of those involved (rather than the cultural or theological). Kundnani's analysis exposes our inability to learn from the paranoia fuelled excesses of McCarthyism and how, in the name of fighting Al Qaeda and others, we are replicating and in some cases exceeding the levels of fear, intimidation and overarching surveillance that marked the Cold War. This then feeds back into a persecuted and constantly scrutinised Muslim population, thereby creating further resentment towards the government within those communities. Especially interesting was the argument against the primary liberal approach to domestic terror threats - deradicalization programs and promotion of a form of politically neutral "moderate" Islam.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    Fantastic read. Highgly recommended to everybody not only for those who are interested in Islamophobia but to anybody who tries to find out what is happening behind the (fair) decisions taken by many Western Governments. Despite being an essay, Kundnani's style is fresh, easy and extremely informative. Fantastic read. Highgly recommended to everybody not only for those who are interested in Islamophobia but to anybody who tries to find out what is happening behind the (fair) decisions taken by many Western Governments. Despite being an essay, Kundnani's style is fresh, easy and extremely informative.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lintha Saleem

    The title is a reference to Cold-War era movie ‘The Russians are Coming!’ - in which Russians are very subtly demonised from a liberal standpoint - but now Muslims have replaced the Soviets as public enemy #1. Kundnani traces the pervasive islamophobia and the domestic side of the War on Terror with respect to American and British Muslims, who collectively became a racialised minority after 9/11 and fell under suspicion of being involved in terrorist activities or at least sympathising with extr The title is a reference to Cold-War era movie ‘The Russians are Coming!’ - in which Russians are very subtly demonised from a liberal standpoint - but now Muslims have replaced the Soviets as public enemy #1. Kundnani traces the pervasive islamophobia and the domestic side of the War on Terror with respect to American and British Muslims, who collectively became a racialised minority after 9/11 and fell under suspicion of being involved in terrorist activities or at least sympathising with extremist ideologies. Kudnani deconstructs culturalist, reformist and psychological explanations used to condemn all forms of extremism and justify the “War on Terror”. Instead he convinces us to place “Muslim” extremism/terrorism in the wider context of racism, America’s military exploits in Muslim-majority countries, and most importantly, the War on Terror’s constant demonisation and humiliation of Muslims, through intricate surveillance and interferences.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nabila

    A very sober view of the 'war on terror' and how it's playing out. Interesting research and thoughtfully put together. What's depressing is, partly the level of surveillance and contractions of individual rights, but mostly that there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. The politics of today hardly lend themselves to increases in reasoning and discourse. A very sober view of the 'war on terror' and how it's playing out. Interesting research and thoughtfully put together. What's depressing is, partly the level of surveillance and contractions of individual rights, but mostly that there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. The politics of today hardly lend themselves to increases in reasoning and discourse.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Hajar Alobaid

    The Muslims Are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1MZv... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68zVT... The Muslims Are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1MZv... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68zVT...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jaqui Lane

    Excellent book looking into the environment of fear that many countries through their security operations, CIA, FBI, MI5, ASIO and others are actively promulgating. After decades where democratic countries valued the rights of individuals this is now under serious attack through the fear mongering around terrorism..directly specifically against Muslims. This book traces specific examples in the USA and UK of how police and security forces racially profile Muslims, some as young as 10-11, and in Excellent book looking into the environment of fear that many countries through their security operations, CIA, FBI, MI5, ASIO and others are actively promulgating. After decades where democratic countries valued the rights of individuals this is now under serious attack through the fear mongering around terrorism..directly specifically against Muslims. This book traces specific examples in the USA and UK of how police and security forces racially profile Muslims, some as young as 10-11, and in some instances entrap them to perform so-called terrorist acts. Meanwhile, laws are being past that threaten everyone's rights. A terrific insight into the not so creeping power of governments and their security forces to watch everything we do, profile anyone and detain anyone.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    This is clearly the best book on Islamophobia that I have read, and I have read most of them. Kundnani has both a theoretical depth and the historical breadth to deal with this subject matter and show some of the underlying causes. She brings out the mystification aspects of the concept of religious extremism that mystifies the underlying political causes and hides them from full view. In other words, what is happening is a political problem with political solutions, but the mystifying of the pr This is clearly the best book on Islamophobia that I have read, and I have read most of them. Kundnani has both a theoretical depth and the historical breadth to deal with this subject matter and show some of the underlying causes. She brings out the mystification aspects of the concept of religious extremism that mystifies the underlying political causes and hides them from full view. In other words, what is happening is a political problem with political solutions, but the mystifying of the problem through reference to Islamic radicalization allows us to avoid the political and focus on things that actually make little to no difference.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Vishal Misra

    The central thesis of Kundnani's book can be simply broken down as the following. In a post 9/11 world, Western policy makers have sought to adduce evidence for a "clash of civilisations" type of explanation for the origins of the "War on Terror." Islam, we are told, is culturally defective. It is, we are told, a primitive culture, in which hot-headed swarthy skinned men who hate democracy and revel in sexual repression are given a safe haven. Islam is, we are told, uniquely violent and misogyni The central thesis of Kundnani's book can be simply broken down as the following. In a post 9/11 world, Western policy makers have sought to adduce evidence for a "clash of civilisations" type of explanation for the origins of the "War on Terror." Islam, we are told, is culturally defective. It is, we are told, a primitive culture, in which hot-headed swarthy skinned men who hate democracy and revel in sexual repression are given a safe haven. Islam is, we are told, uniquely violent and misogynistic. The real reason that the War on Terror needs to be waged is that too many people fall to the lures of "ideological" Islam. An ideology that is rooted in cultural supremacy and backwardness. Of course, what this view completely leaves out is the political context in which someone may choose to back radicalism of any ilk. Radical Islam is, far from being a fixed, unified and homogenous concept, something that comes in many shades. Furthermore, radical views are espoused in a context, be they radical left views, or radical right views. By seeking to portray Islam as inherently flawed, it allows Western governments to depoliticise their own actions. So what does draw people to the path of radicalism? Well, Kundnani offers up many examples of why one may be drawn to radical worldviews. It could be because of foreign policy that supports a settler-colonial state that routinely kills and continues to dispossess an entire nation. It could be because of discrimination and far-right activity in the domestic belly of the West. Indeed, it could even be because the State entraps and creates radicalised individuals. Kundnani shows numerous examples of how Muslims have been targeted by the security apparatus of the 'deep state' in the UK and US to act as informers and agent provocateurs. Each time, these security services have taken someone with a mildly sympathetic view towards radical Islam, and encouraged them down the path to violence. Of course, there is also the culture of complete ignorance through which Islam is viewed by the West. Whilst much is made of Islam being a culture irredeemably prone to violence, nothing is ever stated in Western discourse of Islamic algebra, the building of e.g. Alhambra or the rich tradition of Islamic poetry and science. Indeed, there is not even much in the way of nuance in Western understandings of the Sunni/Shia divide. Hence, Western politicians can stoke fears of pacts between Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda (a laughable notion). Ultimately, by refusing to see actions such as indiscriminate (and unmanned) drone strikes in civilian areas, support for ongoing colonial repression and the propping up of corrupt and venal regimes using the soft power of money and the hard power of arms sales as violence, the West undermines its own narrative. Until this violence is seen for what it is, there will not be any rational understanding of why Muslims are on the receiving end of brutality, discrimination and racist tropes.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Anees

    I purchased this book in Feb 2017 after seeing Arun and several other journalistic personalities, including one of my favorite independent journalists (Mehreen Kasana) speak at a panel at Verso Books (which was involved with the final in New York City entitled "The Muslim Ban: How We Got Here and Where We Go Next." This is of course a must read for anyone wanting to know how the US and UK governments have been conducting the so-called "war on terror" in great detail and the ramping up of the fear I purchased this book in Feb 2017 after seeing Arun and several other journalistic personalities, including one of my favorite independent journalists (Mehreen Kasana) speak at a panel at Verso Books (which was involved with the final in New York City entitled "The Muslim Ban: How We Got Here and Where We Go Next." This is of course a must read for anyone wanting to know how the US and UK governments have been conducting the so-called "war on terror" in great detail and the ramping up of the fear-induced Islamophobic environment that we have been living in for what seems like an eternity, to those of us under the microscope of suspicion at least. American and British readers from the Muslim community will be well-versed and familiar with many of the cases, but most importantly the related subversive acts, the dishonesty, rather than just the incidents at face value that you might see in the headlines in the morning. This has included entrapping vulnerable individuals in covert operations under the pre-tense of preventing attacks and thus keeping the general populace on edge, full of hate and ignorance. This hit home several times in my case, as my community was affected by one such example. I know that my fellow Muslims or those appeared to be sadly, have been targets, have lived-on-edge, as I have, since 9/11 with the subsequent federal policies that have caused false accusations, false narratives of their own creation. I don't know if those on the outside realize this, but as is made clear by the cases and policy detailed by the author in the book, the deceitful games that governments and agencies have been playing, does not come as news or as a surprise to those of us affected by those very policies. This book is heart-breaking when thinking about the young lives that have been ruined, rooted in ill-fated foreign policy of Western powers, which leads to the previously-mentioned confused, disillusioned youths that fall prey to ugly forces that have formed as a result of the wars conducted by those very powers. Sadly a viscous cycle. The other emotion that is elicited is deep anger and frustration. Despite the negative results, as we can all see plainly, these poor choices have continued on to the present day, which the author laments: "the machinery of mass surveillance, racialized criminalization and extra-judicial killing presses on"

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sanah Mehnaz

    Arun Kundnani presents a rigorous analysis of counter terrorist interventions, surveillance of Muslim communities and the subject of radicalisation. Focusing on Britains and America’s preventative counter terrorism measures Kundnani compellingly exposes the disproportionate ways in which Muslim communities are collectively targeted and monitored. This gripping text is replete with essential details on the war on terror and counter radicalisation programs exposing the ulterior motives and illogica Arun Kundnani presents a rigorous analysis of counter terrorist interventions, surveillance of Muslim communities and the subject of radicalisation. Focusing on Britains and America’s preventative counter terrorism measures Kundnani compellingly exposes the disproportionate ways in which Muslim communities are collectively targeted and monitored. This gripping text is replete with essential details on the war on terror and counter radicalisation programs exposing the ulterior motives and illogical reasonings of these intrusions on Muslims and Muslim communities. The book essentially asks two questions: 1. ‘What reasons there are for thinking Islamic ideology is the root cause of terrorism’ p.16 2. ‘Why the acceptance of Muslims as fellow citizens should be conditioned on their distancing themselves from any particular set of ideological belief’ p.16 Kundnani exposes how the very use of the term terrorism is inherently a political act and this act of labelling some forms of violence as terrorism is a racialised. His book substantiates the claim, that many of us make, that terrorist is a term reserved for Muslims. Kundnani sets the record straight by revealing the extent South Asian and African-Caribbean’s in Britain, for example, were subject too: 1. being disproportionately stopped and searched by British police 2. children being victims to racial violence and harassment on their way to school 3. being attacked and ridiculed by British media 4. racial injustice due to poorly designed laws and prosecution of racial violence We see how current racial injustices are in fact a continuation of colonialist ideologies. ‘One of the key arguments of this book is that to comprehend the causes of so-called jihadist terrorism we need to pay as much attention to Western state violence, and the identity politics that sustains it, as we do to Islamist ideology. What governments call extremism is to a large degree a product of their own wars.’ Moreover, these government modes of surveillance seem intent on preventing political freedom of speech. ‘Political dissent and terrorism are collapsed into each other’ p.267. ‘The notion that “extremist ideas,” perhaps enabled by identity conflicts or group dynamics, by themselves turn people into violent radicals does not stand up to scrutiny, and it detaches the question of terrorist violence from the wider context of Western governments’ foreign policies’ This book is essential!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marc Daalder

    In "The Muslims are Coming!", Arun Kundnani dispels with liberal and conservative notions alike regarding the origins of terrorism and instead advances a compelling (and classical leftist) theory: that "Islamic" terrorism is a result of Western foreign policy and domestic repression of Muslim politics. The book is focused on the United States and the United Kingdom and the first part deals with the methods these governments use to dampen Muslim political expression. From surveillance and the UK' In "The Muslims are Coming!", Arun Kundnani dispels with liberal and conservative notions alike regarding the origins of terrorism and instead advances a compelling (and classical leftist) theory: that "Islamic" terrorism is a result of Western foreign policy and domestic repression of Muslim politics. The book is focused on the United States and the United Kingdom and the first part deals with the methods these governments use to dampen Muslim political expression. From surveillance and the UK's Channel project to FBI sting operations, the totality of the West's horrifying anti-Muslim repression is laid bare (briefly) by Kundnani. The core of the book focuses on dismantling the "radicalization" narrative. Kundnani examines the notion adopted by liberals in the late 2000's that the radicalization of domestic terrorists is a psychoideological phenomenon, and concludes that it is instead rooted in politics and class. This banishes classic theories that underlie the conduct of the War on Terror, and is the most important and interesting part of the book, by far. In his conclusion, Kundnani reconciles these two ideas, synthesizing the prosecution of the domestic war on terror with the failed radicalization narrative to provide a holistic view of this war. Definitely recommended!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vinathi Alaburger

    I am so happy I picked this up from a shop in Berkeley last year. It is nonfiction, and so a bit taxing to read, but made interesting nonetheless with true stories of individuals affected by the West's War on Terror. I am a Muslim-American activist and so this book seems written for me. I share passages with my immigrant parents all the time as context for our own history in this country. I shared a chapter to a Pakistani friend who questioned why there were so many South Asian Muslims in Britai I am so happy I picked this up from a shop in Berkeley last year. It is nonfiction, and so a bit taxing to read, but made interesting nonetheless with true stories of individuals affected by the West's War on Terror. I am a Muslim-American activist and so this book seems written for me. I share passages with my immigrant parents all the time as context for our own history in this country. I shared a chapter to a Pakistani friend who questioned why there were so many South Asian Muslims in Britain, a few passages to my dad who claimed to have been under FBI surveillance, a word here or there to my activist friends, and some practically comedic court cases from the book to my younger sister. There are few American Muslims I meet who cannot relate to the content of this book. The research and writing is impeccable. If I were to create an ethnic studies class for American Muslims, this would be the bible of it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    Kundnani breaks down the US and UK media’s sensationalised portrayal of Muslims, radicalism and terrorism, and how this irrational fear started. For me, the most interesting part was the normalisation of government-induced surveillance culture in the Muslim community, which perhaps propelled these radical tendencies, or at least the national fear of them. For me, Kundnani doesn’t have all the answers, but he does a really good job at mapping out a timeline from the late 80s to the current day; o Kundnani breaks down the US and UK media’s sensationalised portrayal of Muslims, radicalism and terrorism, and how this irrational fear started. For me, the most interesting part was the normalisation of government-induced surveillance culture in the Muslim community, which perhaps propelled these radical tendencies, or at least the national fear of them. For me, Kundnani doesn’t have all the answers, but he does a really good job at mapping out a timeline from the late 80s to the current day; one of those reads where once you’ve finished it, the stars align, the penny drops, and it all makes sense.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sana

    really great book ! i think if i were to recommend a person read any one book about islamophobia it would be this one (as opposed to islamophobia and the politics of empire). kundnani doesnt go as much into the imperialist aspect of islamophobia as kumar does, but he thoroughly counters the myth that muslims are / can be predisposed to terrorism and uses that to reject the current modes of counterterrorism practiced primarily by the fbi, nypd, and mi5. i was really surprised to learn about the p really great book ! i think if i were to recommend a person read any one book about islamophobia it would be this one (as opposed to islamophobia and the politics of empire). kundnani doesnt go as much into the imperialist aspect of islamophobia as kumar does, but he thoroughly counters the myth that muslims are / can be predisposed to terrorism and uses that to reject the current modes of counterterrorism practiced primarily by the fbi, nypd, and mi5. i was really surprised to learn about the parallels between cointelpro and cve surveillance in the US. learned a lot feeling very enlightened (and upset) !

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sami Eerola

    Weary detail depiction and analyses on ways states, intelligence organizations, think tanks and racist groups describe and analyses Muslims and terrorism. This book show some thinks that i have noticed on terrorism-studies involving biases and ideological presuppositions. Racism is not only hating a group of people, but assuming that they have a inheriting "evil" lurking inside of them. Great book on how a organization or a person can skew their analyses to a totalitarian direction whit out noti Weary detail depiction and analyses on ways states, intelligence organizations, think tanks and racist groups describe and analyses Muslims and terrorism. This book show some thinks that i have noticed on terrorism-studies involving biases and ideological presuppositions. Racism is not only hating a group of people, but assuming that they have a inheriting "evil" lurking inside of them. Great book on how a organization or a person can skew their analyses to a totalitarian direction whit out noticing.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Peter Green

    Excellent critical overview of US and U.K. counterterrorism apparatus and its relation to domestic islamophobia. Analysis ranges from the more abstract and philosophical (such as challenging the very concept of ‘extremism’ and placing its origins in the context of imperialism and later the Cold War) to the highly concrete (such as specific details of the UK’s Prevent strategy, or an outline of the counterjihad movement). Very readable, with original research interspersed with many emotionally in Excellent critical overview of US and U.K. counterterrorism apparatus and its relation to domestic islamophobia. Analysis ranges from the more abstract and philosophical (such as challenging the very concept of ‘extremism’ and placing its origins in the context of imperialism and later the Cold War) to the highly concrete (such as specific details of the UK’s Prevent strategy, or an outline of the counterjihad movement). Very readable, with original research interspersed with many emotionally involving examples and political polemics.

  26. 5 out of 5

    lafemmeabsurde

    Reading this book was like a gutpunch. I am born into an upper-caste North Indian family, the epitome of privilege, well kinda - it would be cherry on the top if I was a fair skinned man. Islamophobia, in the face of everything that has happened recently in Palestine as well as the upsurge of hatred towards Muslims in the Modi ruled India is not just frustrating . The crisp and empathetic prose is necessary for the rest of us to take a deeper look into the hell that is being raised. A must read fo Reading this book was like a gutpunch. I am born into an upper-caste North Indian family, the epitome of privilege, well kinda - it would be cherry on the top if I was a fair skinned man. Islamophobia, in the face of everything that has happened recently in Palestine as well as the upsurge of hatred towards Muslims in the Modi ruled India is not just frustrating . The crisp and empathetic prose is necessary for the rest of us to take a deeper look into the hell that is being raised. A must read for all allies in the world.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Siddhartha Dhar

    By seeking state tutelage in deciding the future of Islam, both the culturalist and reformist positions have manifested their predisposition towards absolutism; a rather banal imitation of the Middle-eastern clerical despotisms. Enshrouded by the endless and multifarious coinages, both groups purvey the same remedy: Muslims as a monolithic block under all circumstances should be governed under the caveat of ‘state of exception.' By seeking state tutelage in deciding the future of Islam, both the culturalist and reformist positions have manifested their predisposition towards absolutism; a rather banal imitation of the Middle-eastern clerical despotisms. Enshrouded by the endless and multifarious coinages, both groups purvey the same remedy: Muslims as a monolithic block under all circumstances should be governed under the caveat of ‘state of exception.'

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ahmed Gatnash

    This book was immensely enjoyable and very enlightening, and I recommend it to anyone interested in the topic. What follows is more of a rushed summary from my notes than a review. The book starts with an examination of Muslims in both the US and the UK. The racialisation and problematization of Muslims in official discourse is highlighted, creating a marginalising discourse which excludes them from politics. This sets the stage for the rest of the book, showing the way grievances are created (p This book was immensely enjoyable and very enlightening, and I recommend it to anyone interested in the topic. What follows is more of a rushed summary from my notes than a review. The book starts with an examination of Muslims in both the US and the UK. The racialisation and problematization of Muslims in official discourse is highlighted, creating a marginalising discourse which excludes them from politics. This sets the stage for the rest of the book, showing the way grievances are created (politically) and that this is not acknowledged in the world of counter-terrorism policy, which is instead troublingly related to counterinsurgency. There are two trends in the industry; the "culturalists", classic orientalists in the mould of Bernard Lewis who hold that Muslim culture is inherently violent and incompatible with democracy, and the "reformists" who believe that there is a certain dangerous trend within Islam which must be combated through promoting reform. Leaving nobody untouched, he then scrutinises liberals and their attempts to respond to the aggressively anti-Islam positions of the conservatives. Under the magnifying glass he shows the incoherence in creating a collectivist identity of liberalism, and how the idea that the defence of "liberal" "universal" values sometimes requires suspension of those values, (which can become permanent) makes them incoherent. Chapter 4 tackles the very concept of radicalisation, refuting the conveyor belt theory of radicalisation and highlighting its numerous failings. Studies have a lack of control groups, conflate correlation with causation, start with unexamined a priori assumptions such as the absence of shared factors between Muslim radicalisation and non-Muslim radicalisation (precluding the possibility of finding shared factors or causes), and there are links between the academia and the official counterterrorism establishment which ensure a steady feeding of convenient theories, models and information, in exchange for funding. The radicalisation models constructed are are "predictive but not explanatory", which makes little sense, but they do not produce accurate prediction in the first place. They try to trace how an individual’s belief in a radical ideology emerges, with the assumption that such an ideology leads to violence even though this is precisely what needs to be proved. The case study of political (not theological) radicalisation of Awlaki, one of the most prominent terrorist ideologues in the west in the last decade, emphasises the misplaced focus on religious ideology as an indicator of radicalisation in these models, and as a result of them political dissent has been effectively criminalised for Muslims - evidence of political grievances or anti-establishment opinion can be classified as evidence of radicalisation and therefore the first step on the way to terrorism. Other case studies show the ironic effect this criminalisation and disenfranchisement have had - terrorism is not the product of radical politics but a symbol of political impotence coupled with grievances over foreign policy and global injustices. What these erroneous theories have led to, however, is the transformation of the FBI from an investigation agency to intelligence agency along the lines of MI5. They gather vast amounts of information unconnected to specific criminal acts, monitoring radicalisation indicators assuming that they have predictive values, which may be worse than spending the time focussed more narrowly on individuals inciting, financing or preparing to carry out acts of terror. Amassing vast quantities of information about large numbers of “radical” persons makes it harder to spot something significant - most often failures of US govt to prevent attacks have been not because intelligence was missing but because significance was not identified amid the haystack. And the community programmes set up in order to gather this information (read: mass-spying on communities and even bullying) have caused communities to feel marginalised and threatened. Then book then moves back to examine a major trend in the west: the emergence of the far-right. The new generation claim to be very anti-nazi by including jews, referencing WWII in their imagery and even establishing LGBT and sikh divisions, but there is lots of evidence of overt links to racist movements. The ideas underlying their rhetoric have also kept the same patterns: instead of world controlled by jews it is politicians who are too “cosmopolitan” to protect our rights, and instead of wanting to defend white cultural supremacy they are defending british identity. They have appropriated culturalist and reformist discourses of the war on terror and given them a voice on street, using the same prevent ideology but instead of being isolated individuals the enemy is not an ideology embedded in communities. Politicians are unable to combat them effectively, and in fact their message is not that groups like the BNP are fundamentally wrong, just that responsible politicians are best to address these grievances. And yet all racisms have some kind of double-aspect - racialized immigrants are both lazy and stealing our jobs, they both refuse to integrate and are secretly infiltrating society.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    A decent book that provides a good overview of surveillance and islamophobia in the US and U.K. The most compelling parts concern the interviews he conducted. At its worst, it can at times seem like a lit review. But in general a good primer on the issue and the underlying assumptions.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Eurethius Péllitièr

    This book is a necessary read to understand the flaws in the hostile and 'friendly' ideas defining "extremism" in the main stream. Kundnani's approach is simple and helps decimate arguments that lead to racial profiling. This book is a necessary read to understand the flaws in the hostile and 'friendly' ideas defining "extremism" in the main stream. Kundnani's approach is simple and helps decimate arguments that lead to racial profiling.

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