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The Muslims Are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror Hardcover – March 18, 2014
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“An important and moving investigation of the costs of the ‘war on terror’ for those who have been its targets, including the thousands of innocent Muslims who have been infiltrated, entrapped, and surveilled in the search for the radicalized terrorist among us. Kundnani gives eloquent voice to the communities that have been regulated, watched, and silenced by the national security state.”
—David Cole, author of Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism
“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.’”
—Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire
“Arun Kundnani is one of Britain’s best political writers, neither hectoring nor drily academic but compelling and sharply intelligent. The Muslims Are Coming should be widely read, particularly by liberals who consider their own positions unassailable.”
—Robin Yassin-Kassab, Guardian
“Kundnani’s argument is compelling in its dissection of governments’ disproportional responses.”
—Tanjil Rashid, Financial Times
“Kundnani’s book is a fact-rich call for vigilance and clear thinking about the erosion of civil liberties and attitudes.”
“A gripping exposition of how the west has made a post-communist enemy and, in some ways, ignited Islamicist terrorism.”
—Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Independent
“An incisive, scholarly, bold, and convincing critique of the never-ending ‘War on Terror,’ whose roots extend far beyond the tragedy of 9/11. An important work.”
—Wajahat Ali, cohost of Al Jazeera America’s The Stream and author of The Domestic Crusaders
“Arun Kundnani, a British-born scholar who is now an adjunct professor at New York University, is a different sort of leftist. He is not Muslim, either by background or conviction, but he maintains that ‘Islamophobia’ is a thinly disguised form of racial prejudice, and that on both sides of the Atlantic, the war on terror has been an excuse for governments to ratchet up surveillance and harassment of people who are ‘guilty’ of nothing worse than critical thought about their countries’ domestic or foreign policies.”
“Excellent and timely … a compelling guide to the debate over the nature of British Islam.”
“This timely and urgent analysis carefully examines the ideologies and law enforcement strategies that undergird the domestic War on Terror. What Kundnani finds is disturbing: sweeping, specious radicalization theory and racialized assumptions about the nature of Islam drive domestic counterterrorism practices. This has had devastating consequences for the rights and liberties of Muslims and the state of constitutional protections in the US and UK.”
—Jeanne Theoharis, author of The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks
“Indispensable and powerful … Essential reading for government officials engaged in designing our counterterrorism policies, as well as readers trying to make sense of them.”
—Faiza Patel, Co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program, Brennan Center, NYU School of Law
“A must-read guide to the second decade of war waged on the home front.”
—John Feffer, author of Crusade 2.0: The West’s Resurgent War on Islam
“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.”
“Kundnani frankly and refreshingly moves away from ideological symptoms and toward political causes in tackling extremism.”
“Aptly reveals the West’s anti-Islam and anti-Muslim prejudice in the form of ‘war on terror.’ It unravels and critiques their reified anti-Muslim policies persuasively. It is a groundbreaking, balanced, simple to read, and timely contribution to the existing literature that vividly highlights the true face of the West’s perception of Muslims—as an alien race.”
—Muhammad Yassen Gada, Arab Studies Quarterly
“Based on several years of research and reportage, The Muslims are Coming! is an incisive critique of the repressive and surveillance-heavy methods of combatting homegrown terrorism utilized in both the US and UK.”
About the Author
Arun Kundnani is an Adjunct Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, and teaches terrorism studies at John Jay College. He has been a Visiting Fellow at Leiden University, Netherlands, an Open Society Fellow, and the Editor of the journal Race and Class. He is the author of The End of Tolerance: Racism in 21st Century Britain. He lives in New York.
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Many of you reading this won't be outraged the practice. We're at war with some part of Islam right? We need to take extraordinary measures in a war without end.
Arun Kundnani's The Muslims are Coming! (Verso, New York, 2014) is an account of how, and why, this war is being waged, primarily in Britain and in the United States, although he says plenty about Western Europe, as well. He makes a persuasive case that the West is blowing it, destroying the very liberties in whose names we say we act, creating conditions of dangerous frustration for others, and ignoring signs that the rest of the world might not be a willing participant in our fantasies of world leadership.
From the right come dire prognostications about a clash of civilizations, with Islam being portrayed less as an historic faith than as a totalitarian ideology bent on destroying Western democracies. The left doesn't do much better: it seeks to identify radical Islam, offering a hand of peace to "good" Moslems prepared to behave in ways we can accept. Both left and right are shadow boxing, creating an image of Islam as a dark peril that must be managed, and perhaps, extinguished.
We've revived the very worst of the old COINTELPRO programs once used against the Black Panthers, Martin Luther King and the left, and inspired thousands of new federal intelligence agents and their informants to fan out across the country keeping track of who says what to whom, all in the service of policing dangerous thoughts.
Stirring hatred of Islam is big business. According to the Council on American-Islamic relations, some 37 Islamophobic groups had revenue of $119 million from 2008 to 2011. That's a lot of hate money. Hate bloggers such as Pamela Geller, who apparently believes President Obama is a secret agent for Islam, are Internet stars. And it's too easy to be convicted of a crime if you have contributed to an Islamic charity - when everyone is a potential jihadist, you've got be careful to whom you give material support.
The result of this war on Islam is a generation of marginalized young people threatened, intimidated and afraid to express views that might place them on the radar of law-enforcement officers throughout the West trying to spot terrorists in the making. Flawed social science has created models of radicalization that cast criminal suspicion on mere dissent. Begone Protocols of the Elders of Zion - there's a new demon to hate, Islam.
The book is not particularly well written and could have used the hand of a deft editor. I struggled through the first few pages wondering if the book was worth the effort -- by the end of the first chapter, I was hooked. This is a convincing portrait of the genesis of a new form of hatred with harmful consequences not just to the scorned, but of those who find satisfaction in hatred.
Kundnani persuaded me we've lost the war on terror. The nation's roughly six million Moslems are a people under siege. Sure, there are probably a few terrorists lurking among them, as there are in White supremacists groups.
This sensible and well-reasoned book inspires a desire to extend a welcome hand to Islamic community. We've marginalized them and driven them undercover. We can win the war of terror by stop creating bogeymen we find such pleasure in hating.