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

Worth reading for an alternate view on the “root causes” of extremism and terrorism by Arun Kundnani, and some of the missteps in the “war against terror.”

It does not answer why people in some communities are more drawn to extremism and violence than others. This is not unique to Muslims as other examples, such as previous patterns of violence among some Sikhs or Catholics in Northern Ireland. And many of the people implicated in terrorism and extremism are not the most disadvantaged or excluded in their communities:

This failure to engage with the real roots of violent alienation has ramifications going far beyond security. Both culturalism and reformism neglect what Kundnani calls “the basic political question thrown up by multiculturalism: how can a common way of life, together with full participation from all parts of society, be created?” Those British Muslims who “ghettoised” didn’t do so by choice but as a result of industrial collapse, discriminatory housing policies and the fear of racist violence. Identity politics was promoted and funded by local government in response to a 1970s radicalism (for instance the Asian Youth Movements, modelled on the Black Panthers), which linked anti-racism to anti-capitalism. Home secretary Willie Whitelaw supported “ethnic” TV programming on the grounds that “if they don’t get some outlet for their activities you are going to run yourself into much more trouble”. Multiculturalism, then, was not a leftist plot but a conservative move bringing together the state and community “uncles” against a much more subversive alternative. And in the last decade, while “anti-terror” resources have flowed into Muslim communities, benefiting the usual gatekeepers and provoking the envy of equally deprived non-Muslim communities, young, alienated Muslims, as likely obsessed by the Illuminati as the caliphate, are deterred from speaking – and being challenged – in public.

The Muslims Are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror – review | Books | The Guardian.

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About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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