Mohammad Bilal Nasir

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Northwestern U.

Grant number

Gr. 9424

Approve Date

April 18, 2017

Project Title

Nasir, Mohammad Bilal, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'Policing Los Angeles Muslims in the National Security State: Counterterror, Science, and Secularism in the War on Terror,' supervised by Dr. Shalini Shankar

This project involved twelve months of ethnographic research in the greater Los Angeles area on the implementation of, and Islamic responses to, the ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ (CVE) communit-based counterterrorism program in US Muslim communities. More specifically, it probed the underlying presuppositions, logics, and styles of reasoning of this program to query how the US national security state draws on and develops the sciences of ‘terrorism studies’ to police and govern racialized US Muslim communities. The research consisted of participant observation and discourse analysis at sites of encounter between national security policing apparatuses and pious US Muslims, such as at CVE panels, law enforcement community outreach initiatives, public forums, and CVE-sponsored religious spaces. Moreover, it examined the everyday lives and discourses of Muslim youth that participated in activist spaces, Islamic educational institutions, and mosques to consider how Muslims in LA forge Islamic responses to policing interventions in their communities. This research furthermore consisted of 48 open-ended interviews with CVE officials, law enforcement, counterterrorism experts, and organizers at Muslim institutions. In this regard, this project investigated the debates surrounding the implementation of CVE to consider the the effects of the War on Terror on racial and/or secular governance, policing, and everyday US Muslim ethical life in the current age of national security.