Op-Ed

The ‘War on Terror’ and the Disciplining of American Muslims

Editor’s Note:

20 Years on the 9/11 attacks, many American Muslims are recalling the rampant abuses in the government’s domestic war on terror.

In an opinion article by Abdullah Al-Arian, Associate professor of history at Georgetown University, Qatar, he recalls how a multibillion-dollar securitization effort has devastated the Muslim community.


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Earlier this month, The New York Times Magazine published a feature article profiling a former FBI agent who was imprisoned by the US for exposing the rampant abuses in the government’s domestic war on terror.

In the piece, Terry Albury recounted the FBI’s systematic harassment and intimidation of American Muslims, its spying on the community, and its prosecution of many of its members under the guise of combatting terrorism.

Upon joining the FBI shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Albury recalled, “It was made very clear from day one that the enemy was not just a tiny group of disaffected Muslims. Islam itself was the enemy.”

Its uniquely candid and self-reflective tone notwithstanding, there was little in this account that would come as a surprise to most American Muslims.

Twenty years on from the launch of a war that would place an entire minority population under a cloud of suspicion, it is worth examining how the lives of American Muslims have been irrevocably transformed.

As securitized subjects, they have existed on one of the many front lines in the global war on terror, forced to reassess their identity and core values in the name of belonging.

Check to read the rest of the article here.