chapter  20
Muslim American youth and post-9/11 Islamophobia
Interfaith activism and the limits of religious multiculturalism
WithSunaina Maira
Pages 11

The heightened Islamophobia that has been stoked in the US by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and election, as well as his anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant policies, intensified the Islamophobia that was consolidated after 11 September 2001. Muslim American communities have been on the frontlines of struggles against racism and nativism since the events of 9/11. Young people who belong to the “9/11 generation”, in particular, and who have come of age after 2001 live in a moment when Muslim, Arab, and Middle Eastern Americans are viewed as the enemy within. Under the PATRIOT Act (2001) and with the expanded powers given by the US state to law enforcement and intelligence agencies to “preempt” terrorism, Arab, South Asian (particularly Pakistani), Afghan, Iranian, and Muslim Americans in general have been subjected to surveillance as well as detention and deportation. Yet the racial othering and surveillance targeting Muslim and Arab American youth did not begin on 11 September 2001. This Islamophobia and Arabophobia (or anti-Arab racism) is not exceptional, but situated in the longer, global history of US imperial policies in West and South Asia and in relation to other, domestic processes of criminalization, surveillance, and elimination of racialized peoples by the US state.