Nicole Nguyen, "Suspect Communities: Anti-Muslim Racism and the Domestic War on Terror" (U Minnesota Press, 2019)

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Suspect Communities: Anti-Muslim Racism and the Domestic War on Terror (University of Minnesota Press, 2019) is a powerful reassessment of the U.S. government’s “countering violent extremism” (CVE) program that has arisen in major cities across the United States since 2011. Drawing on an interpretive qualitative study, Nicole Nguyen, Associate Professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago, examines how the concept behind CVE—aimed at combating homegrown terrorism by engaging Muslim community members, teachers, and religious leaders in monitoring and reporting on young people—has been operationalized through the everyday work of CVE actors, from high-level national security workers to local community members, with significant penalties for the communities themselves. By undertaking this analysis, Nicole Nguyen offers a vital window into the inner workings of the U.S. security state and the devastating impact of the CVE program on local communities. In our conversation we discussed counterterrorism policy, radicalization theories, national security trainings and conferences, the difference between anti-Muslim racism and Islamophobia, public objections to CVE, activist resistance, how and why Muslims participate in policing communities, targeting Muslim youth, and the role of schools and teachers.

Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at kpeterse@odu.edu.

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