Maira 9 Sunaina Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of

Maira 9 sunaina professor of asian american studies

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Maira 9 Sunaina, Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Davis, "Good" and "Bad" Muslim Citizens: Feminists, Terrorists, and U.S. Orientalisms”, Feminist Studies35: no. 3, Fall, Given the FBI’s pattern of using informants to provoke Muslim Amer icans into declarations of dissent, the state seems to seek out and even foster the radical ideas that it then uses as examples of terrorist conspiracies. For example, FBI informants provided the plans and weapons for proposed attacks in the cases of the Fort Dix Five (five young Muslim men arrested in New Jersey in 2007) and of four men arrested in 2009 for plotting to attack a synagogue in New York.17 This is the strange irony at the heart of the War on Terror: the state needs “bad Muslims ” in order to justify its assault on civil liberties , and if they are not visible, it must call them into public being to prove the threat to national security. This mechanism is based not just on entrapment but also on the twisted political logic embedded in a war that, by definition, needs terrorism. As Gayatri S pivak ob serves: “Something called terror is needed in order to declare a war on it –a war that extends from the curtailment of civil liberties to indefinite augmentation of military self-permission. Without the word terror, this range of things, alibied in the name of women, cannot be legitimized .”18 Increasingly, then, the only statements that Muslim Americans feel secure making to distance themselves from “bad” Muslims are denunciations of terrorism and insistence on Islam as a peace-loving religion . Salaita proposes an “ethics of refusal” of this “prerequisite to speaking” for Arabs and Muslims, given that invoking the specter of “terrorism” by denying it nevertheless reinscribes Orientalist notions of Muslim and Arab violence and evades discussions of political grievances and state-sponsored violence .19 Although some Muslim and Arab American spokes persons feel compelled to make public statements asserting good citizenship in response to the criminalization of their political views , I would extend Salaita’s call for an “ethics of refusal” to the broader issue of political resistance: there also needs to be an ethical defense of the collective right to express dissent , even “radical” or heretical ideas. Gender and Orientalism Performances of “good” and “bad” Muslim citizenship are heavily gendered and Orientalized. As Miriam Cooke observes , “ Imperial logic genders and separates subject peoples so that the men are the Other and the women are civilizable. ” The preoccupation in the United States with women in hijab, or presumably “oppressed” Muslim and Arab women, coexists with a desire to rescue them from their tradition in order to bring them into the nation.
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