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OpenDemocracy Interviews Arun Kundnani on the Ramifications of the “War On Terror”


via. OpenDemocracy

“In this interview, he unveils and critiques the ramifications of the ‘war on terror’, from the conservative and liberal rhetoric of the intellectuals and commentators who have emerged, to the theories of ‘radicalisation’ which have fuelled counter-terrorism programmes in the west.”

Is everywhere a war zone now? How does this connect to the rhetoric of the ‘war on terror’? 

The promise of the ‘war on terror’ was that we would kill them ‘over there’ so they would not kill us ‘over here.’ Hence mass violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Yemen, and Somalia – in the name of peace in the west. The “Authorization to Use Military Force” that the US Congress passed in the days after 9/11 already defined the whole world as a battlefield in the ‘war on terror’. President Obama continues to rely on the authorization to give his drone-killing programme a veneer of legality. This is the old colonial formula of liberal values at home sustained by a hidden illiberalism in the periphery – where routine extra-judicial killing is normalised.

We all know the ‘war on terrorism’ kills more civilians than terrorism does; but we tolerate this because it is ‘their’ civilians being killed in places we imagine to be far away. Yet colonial history teaches us that violence always ‘comes home’ in some form: whether as refugees seeking sanctuary, whether as the re-importing of authoritarian practices first practised in colonial settings, or indeed as terrorism. The same patterns repeat today in new forms.

Colonial history teaches us that violence always ‘comes home’.

For Muslim citizens in western states, these dynamics bring an enormous burden: they are reduced to the false choice of moderate or extremist, good Muslim or bad Muslim. The question that hovers over their very being is whether they will detach themselves from their connections to zones of violence abroad or channel that violence within the west. But this question is not posed directly; it is always displaced onto the plane of culture: do you accept western values?

This framework imposes itself relentlessly on Muslim public expression, rendering suspicious anyone who refuses to engage in rituals of loyalty to western culture. Meanwhile, ISIS casts these Muslims as living in the “grey zone” between western imperialism and the claim of a revived caliphate.

What results is a mutual reinforcing of the militarized identity narrative on both sides: the jihadists point to numerous speeches by western leaders to support their claim of a war on Islam; and western leaders legitimise war with talk of a ‘generational struggle’ between western values and Islamic extremism. What is striking today is the tired rhetoric of military aggression – Hollande’s “pitiless war” – once again recycled, despite the obvious failures of the past 14 years.

Where did the ISIS attackers in Paris come from? Can theories of radicalisation explain what drove them?

Theories of radicalisation developed by think-tanks, intelligence agencies, and academic departments linked to the national security apparatus have tended to make a number of false assumptions in their attempts to understand jihadist violence. First, they assume a deep difference between ‘Islamic’ and other forms of political violence; the history of political violence in the twentieth century – particularly in colonial contexts – is therefore forgotten and its lessons ignored. Second, they assume some form of Islamic religious ideology is the key factor in turning someone into a terrorist; some analysts grant the relevance of what they call ‘perceived grievances’ or emotional crises as enabling factors but ideology is still taken to be the primary cause.

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  • Reynardine

    The Colorado shooter.

  • Reynardine


  • AJ

    Where do you get the half-verses from and who pays you to publish them?

  • AJ

    I am sure you missed all the other videos where Muslims including scholars talk about peace. You are on a mission. So whose payroll are you on? Hasbara, who else?

  • AJ

    He/she/it keeps on publishing half-verses with wrong translations.

  • AJ

    Now you are showing your true colors. Your strategy to publish half-verses with wrong translations failed so now you openly started barfing.

  • AJ

    Once again, you published half the verse. I see a pattern in you, a pattern that indicates that you are extremely deceitful. Here is 48:29 in its entirety:

    Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating [in prayer], seeking bounty from Allah and [His] pleasure. Their mark is on their faces from the trace of prostration. That is their description in the Torah. And their description in the Gospel is as a plant which produces its offshoots and strengthens them so they grow firm and stand upon their stalks, delighting the sowers – so that Allah may enrage by them the disbelievers. Allah has promised those who believe and do righteous deeds among them forgiveness and a great reward.

    As the verse shows that Allah indicates the mark of believers in the Quran, and as well as theTorah and Gospel. This is usually the mark on the forehead that indicates that the person prostrates. Your strategy of God not being the God of all believers including Muslims, Jews and Christians was an epic fail. You wouldn’t didn’t want to publish the complete 48:29 since it doesn’t suit your propaganda.
    Also, the word ‘ashiddāu’ translates to firm/forceful and not ‘ruthless’. One can stand firmly against disbelief and NOT be ‘ruthless’ to disbelievers. I think you slipped in the term ‘ruthless’ by intention in the brackets as you did the delete of the latter half of the verse by intention as well. Again, you are a fraud.

  • Yausari

    That, and also killing people with drones doesn’t make anyone any better. Call it anti-terrorism, but It really is terrorism. I mean targeting “military-age” (all adult males, more like).

  • Reynardine

    Exactly today, one ril uhMericuhn shot and killed a waitress who asked him not to smoke in the restaurant and another ril uhMericuhn is staging a shootout at an ob/gyn clinic.

  • 1DrM


  • JD

    Yup …

  • JD

    Unfortunately, most westerners are against us vs them rhetoric and just assume Christians feel the same is this assumption that anti-Christians are being closed minded or bigoted when it’s the exact opposite. They do not believe in equality. Not all of them, by any means, but Christians who are true Christians and follow the Bible

    2 John 1:9-11
    Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of
    Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the
    Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this
    teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,
    for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works

  • Marinater

    the poop!! carlos’s feces fetish comes to life

  • JD

    Anti-Islam Group Posts Muslims’ Personal Info on Facebook

    An anti-Islam group in the Dallas, Texas, suburb of Irving publicized
    the names and addresses of over 60 Muslims and Muslim “sympathizers” on
    its Facebook page.

    The Bureau of American Islamic Relations’ post targets those who spoke out against a controversial Irving City Council vote on Islamic tribunals. In March, the council backed a state bill that would limit Muslim influence.

    Mayor Beth Van Duyne accused Irving’s Muslim community of using
    Sharia law to bypass state and federal legislation to mediate disputes
    through an Islamic tribunal. The Islamic Center of Irving issued a statement that denies the existence of a Sharia court but confirms the existence of a tribunal.

    BAIR describes itself on its Facebook page as an “organization that
    stands in opposition (on all levels)” to Islamic groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

    Alia Salem, executive director of the Dallas/Fort Worth branch of
    CAIR, said the publication marked the first time she had felt slightly
    alarmed over anti-Islamic sentiment. “As bad as things have gotten in
    the past, and especially recently, this is the first time where I see
    people taking this public,” she told the Dallas Morning News.

    Others on the list fear the consequences of their personal information getting into the wrong hands.

    The post has yet to be taken down from Facebook, which goes against
    the website’s Community Standards. Facebook policy is to remove content
    when it presents a “genuine risk of physical harm or direct threats to public safety.”

    Neither Facebook nor the Irving Police Department immediately returned requests for comment.

    BAIR also protested outside of Irving’s mosque Saturday, where
    they toted shotguns and held signs that stated, “Stop the Islamization
    of America” and “The solution to Islamic terrorism.”

    BAIR spokesman David Wright said they were also protesting Syrian refugees coming to America and that he believes that people are scared.

    “They’re scared to say anything about it,” he told Fox 4 News. They’re scared to come out to a place like this and stand in front of a mosque and protest Islam.

    “People should recognize that we are peaceful and we are a group of
    self defense minded people. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

    There has been an alarming increase in Islamophobic incidents since the Nov. 13 attacks on Paris. A mosque in Pflugerville, Texas, was defaced with feces and torn pages of the Quran. In Ontario, Canada, was police said a mosque was deliberately set on fire.

    CAIR said in a statement that
    it has received more reports about acts of Islamophobic discrimination,
    intimidation, threats, and violence targeting American Muslims — or
    those perceived to be Muslim — and Islamic institutions in the week and
    a half since the Paris attacks “than during any other limited period of
    time since the 9/11 terror attacks.”

    Irving also happens to be the home of Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old boy of Sudanese origin whose homemade clock was mistaken for a bomb at school.

  • Yausari

    According to Quran chapter 109;
    1. Say, “O disbelievers,
    2. I do not worship what you worship.
    3. Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship.
    4. Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship.
    5. For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.”

    This is one of the shortest chapter, even a child can remember and understand.

    and 2:256

    There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower.”

    So what did you say about Quran and forced conversion?
    Let’s face it wherever you “learned” the Quran, you got it from where it was concealing the truth and you know it.

    Speaking of truth lets be honest, you complain and ask us to explain the context, but we know and you know that you don’t care! So don’t use these words “As much as I hate bigotry…” unless you really mean it.

  • Reynardine

    I am trying to picture this biological interaction. Perhaps I should not.

  • Reynardine


  • 1DrM

    Looks like trolls Mike Malzahn and Carlos found a way to procreate TheSkunk!

  • Reynardine

    We got into Gulf I “defending” “innocent” Kuwait? I expect the late Saddam Hussain was correct when he described it as a decadent oligarchy.

  • Reynardine

    Happy Thanksgiving
    (Sorry it posted sideways)
    (All the butterfat I should have till this time next year)

  • Reynardine

    Is this the “no true Muslim” fallacy?

  • Reynardine

    No. The pilgrims themselves lived in relative peace with the Massaquoddy. There were many other English settlers, up and down the Seaboard, though, who poisoned their Native guests.

  • downwithpants


  • Alejandro Rodríguez

    Lots of atrocities committed in the West and elsewhere have been higher than the Inquisition and the Witch Trials. For instance, every massacre by Alexander the Great killed far more people than the Salem Witch Trials.

    Besides, more people die of gun fire than Islamic terrorism. About 30,000 people die of gun fire annually in the US:

    In Brazil, the death toll from violent crimes rivals that of the Syrian Civil War:

    And if it means something, Western policies have killed, both directly and indirectly, millions of Muslims in the Islamic world for the last 50 years. The Iraq War, for instance, lef 100,000 dead from direct war and millions more from lack of food and medicine due to the constant bombing of hospitals and supply centers by the US. Heck, before that, the UN sanctions starved 500,000 children to death. To try and portray atrocities like the Armenian Genocide as unique to Muslims is ignorant and discriminatory.

  • Alejandro Rodríguez

    This is like saying that passages from Homer give Greeks a compromising position. Should we reject Greek immigrants or refugees, if there ever are, based on this? Besides, it’s interesting you condemn war while at the same time promoting xenophobia. Apparently, when Westerners do the same bad things Muslims shouldn’t be doing, it is okay.

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