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‘I grew a beard and my dad flipped out!’ Co-option of British Muslim parents in countering ‘extremism’ within their families in Bradford and Leeds


Journal of Ethnic and Migration StudiesJournal abstract

Research on the effects of counter-terrorism has argued that Muslims are constructed as a ‘suspect community’. However, there remains a paucity of research exploring divisive effects membership to a ‘suspect community’ has on relations within Muslim families. Drawing from interviews conducted in 2010–2011 with British Muslims living in Bradford or Leeds, I address this gap by examining how co-option of Muslim parents to counter extremism fractures relations within Muslim families. I show that internalising fears of their children being radicalised or indeed radicalising others, means parents judge young Muslims’ religious practices through a restrictive moderate/extremist binary. I advance the category of ‘internal suspect body’ which is materialised through two intersecting conditions: the suspected Muslim extremist to lookout for and young Muslims at risk of radicalisation. I delineate the reproductive effects of terrors of counter-terrorism on Muslims’ experiences as they traverse state, intra-group and individual levels.

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