Since 9/11, there has been a shift from catching terrorists to policing Muslimsby Zaheer Kazmi / April 11, 2017 / Leave a comment
Recent moves by the Trump administration to ban entry to the US of citizens of several Muslim-majority states seem to be a striking departure from western counter-extremism policies. These strategies have focused until now on the proscription of specific individuals and terrorist groups rather than on blanket bans on whole countries.
Meanwhile, the administration’s parallel desire to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organisation is also gaining steam. This has revived perennial tensions in western policy circles over how to deal with the apparently non-violent Islamist “movement,” which has been notoriously difficult to define as a unitary entity.
But while they may appear to augur a new era, Trump’s actions have deeper roots, which reveal the coming together of two distinct but related policy developments since 9/11: attempts by western governments at proscribing non-violent Islamist groups; and the direction of travel in definitions of extremism. The pattern has been to target violence, then non-violent extremism and now, it seems, followers of a particular faith.