The FBI’s ‘good’ Muslims

Community partnerships are seen by the FBI as a softer counterterrorism. But who are the partners? While these partnerships provide the FBI with another layer of intelligence, they also raise questions about who, exactly, should represent “the Muslim community” in dealings with the government – and how those dealings affect the freedom of speech and…

The wrong way to prevent homegrown terrorism

Following the shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009, the attempted car bomb in Times Square in May and a number of other domestic cases, including the recent arrest of a Somali-American teenager in Portland, Oregon, U.S. security agencies are sharply focused on the potential “radicalization” of American-Muslims and how to prevent it. Many…

Trust made meaningless

Excessive surveillance of Muslims undermines a central component of counter-terrorism work. Under the guise of tackling Islamic extremism, the government has created one of the most elaborate systems of surveillance ever seen in this country. As this newspaper revealed on Saturday, the Preventing Violent Extremism programme, known simply as Prevent, is being used to gather intelligence…

Spooked: how not to prevent violent extremism

This Institute of Race Relations study of the UK government’s Preventing Violent Extremism policy criticized its sole focus on Muslim populations, the embedding of surveillance in community engagement with Muslims, and the background assumptions about the nature of extremism and radicalization. The paper was accompanied by a front-page report in the Guardian newspaper on the surveillance…