Death came instantly to Imam Luqman, as four FBI agents fired semiautomatic 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.
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.
“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.” —New Statesman
“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.” —Economist
“Excellent and timely … a compelling guide to the debate over the nature of British Islam.” —Telegraph
“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.” —Publishers Weekly
“Kundnani frankly and refreshingly moves away from ideological symptoms and toward political causes in tackling extremism.” —Kirkus Reviews
“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.” —LitHub