...Terrorism is not a neutral concept. It has always been given meaning and operationalized through a political process. That process is driven by an ideology that is often influenced by racism and white supremacy.
For example, the FBI (and the New York Police Department) have developed and propagated flimsy, sociologically debunked theories of “radicalization” to describe how regular Muslim behavior might at some point, suddenly, turn violent. More recently, we learned that the FBI labeled movements to protest police killings “Black identity extremists” and later “racially motivated violent extremism.” Once these frameworks are in place, law enforcement agencies are authorized to deploy a seemingly endless arsenal of investigative techniques and need to justify very little.
Our clients have borne the brunt of politically deployed abuses of the terrorism framing. Under the auspices of policing terrorism, federal and local police departments have engaged in extensive domestic surveillance programs, targeting Muslim communities and Black activists. They have sent informants and undercover agents into mosques. ...
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