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AMERICA, ISLAM, AND CONSTITUTIONALISM: MUSLIM AMERICAN POVERTY AND THE MOUNTING POLICE STATE

  • Khaled A. Beydoun (a1)
Abstract

Intersectionality alone cannot bring invisible bodies into view. Mere words won't change the way that some people—the less-visible members of political constituencies—must continue to wait for leaders, decision-makers and others to see their struggles.

—Kimberlé Crenshaw 1 Hamtramck is a city that occupies many intersections. Geographically, it is approximately two square miles, swallowed entirely by the city of Detroit. Racially and religiously, Hamtramck is at the latter end of a pivotal crossroads. The city of roughly 22,000 people was once a concentrated and celebrated Polish enclave, a coveted destination for immigrants from the Eastern European nation seeking safe haven and economic opportunity. Today, a declining number of Polish businesses, and a statue of Pope John Paul II on the corner of Joseph Campau and Belmont Streets, commemorating his 1987 visit, symbolize the city's proud Polish and Catholic heritage.2 Taking in the sights and sounds of the city today quickly reveals that Hamtramck, however, is no longer predominantly Polish, but rather a destination and hub for Muslims pursuing the American Dream while heavily steeped in their native traditions.

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1 Kimberlé Crenshaw, “Why Intersectionality Can't Wait,” Washington Post, September 24, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/in-theory/wp/2015/09/24/why-intersectionality-cant-wait.

2 For a video of the pope's September 19, 1987, visit to Hamtramck, “Pope John Paul II - 1987 Visit to Hamtramck MI [part 01],” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXtiRaudQ_k.

3 All-American Muslim, a reality show based in Dearborn, Michigan, that featured families and characters predominantly from the Lebanese Shiite Muslim community, aired on TLC from November 2011 to January 2012.

4 Abraham Nabeel, Howell Sally, and Shyrock Andrew, eds., Arab Detroit 9/11: Life in the Terror Decade (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2011).

5 Jabal Amaney and Naber Nadine, eds., Race and Arab Americans before and after 9/11: From Invisible Citizens to Invisible Subjects (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2007).

6 Sarah Pulliam Bailey, “In the First Majority-Muslim City, Residents Tense about Its Future,” Washington Post, September 21, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/for-the-first-majority-muslim-us-city-residents-tense-about-its-future/2015/11/21/45d0ea96-8a24-11e5-be39-0034bb576eee_story.html.

7 Beydoun Khaled A., “Between Indigence, Islamophobia, and Erasure: Poor and Muslim in ‘War on Terror’ America,” California Law Review 104, no. 6 (2016).

8 Pew Research Center for the People and the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, “Muslim Americans: No Signs of Growth in Alienation or Support for Extremism,” August 30, 2011, http://www.people-press.org/2011/08/30/muslim-americans-no-signs-of-growth-in-alienation-or-support-for-extremism/.

9 Khaled Beydoun, “Poor and Muslim in ‘War on Terror’ America,” Islamic Monthly (May 25, 2015), http://theislamicmonthly.com/poor-and-muslim-in-war-on-terror-america/.

10 Volpp Leti, “The Citizen and the Terrorist,” UCLA Law Review 49, no. 5 (2002): 1586 .

11 Roy Olivier, “Islamic Terrorist Radicalisation in Europe,” in European Islam: Challenges for Society and Public Policy, ed. Amghar Samir et al. (Brussels: Centre for European Policy Studies, 2007), 55 .

12 For a legal history and analysis of how black identity is disassociated from Muslim identity, see Beydoun Khaled, “Antebellum Islam,” Howard Law Journal 58, no. 1 (2014): 171–81.

13 Diouf Sylviane, Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas (New York: New York University Press, 1998).

14 Austin Allan D., African Muslims in Antebellum America: Transatlantic Stories and Spiritual Struggles (New York: Routledge, 1997).

15 Turner Richard Brent, Islam in the African-American Experience (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997).

16 “Countering Violent Extremism,” Department of Homeland Security, last published July 6, 2016, http://www.dhs.gov/topic/countering-violent-extremism. “[T]he radicalization process so described not to—and frequently does not—culminate in mobilization to engage in terrorist violence. The radicalized subject is not a terrorist, but rather someone who may be predisposed to regard terrorist violence as religiously sanctioned.” Rascoff Samuel J., “Establishing Official Islam? The Law and Strategy of Counter-Radicalization,” Stanford Law Review 64, no. 1 (2012): 141 .

17 Aziz Sahar, “Policing Terrorists in the Community,” Harvard National Security Journal 5, no. 1 (2014): 164 .

18 Roy, “Islamic Terrorist Radicalisation in Europe,” 58.

19 Rascoff, “Establishing Official Islam?” 127.

20 Akbar Amna, “Policing ‘Radicalization,’UC Irvine Law Review 3, no. 4 (2013): 814 .

21 Ibid., 820.

22 Akbar Amna, “National Security's Broken Windows,” UCLA Law Review 62, no. 4 (2015): 838 .

23 “Stop-and-Frisk Data,” New York Civil Liberties Union (2015), accessed November 2, 2016, http://www.nyclu.org/content/stop-and-frisk-data [https://perma.cc/R5NQ-8NHB, March 1, 2016]; see Floyd v. City of New York, 959 F. Supp. 2d 540 (2013) (holding that Stop-and-Frisk violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights of black and Latino residents, who were disproportionately affected by the program).

24 “Under ‘knock and talk,’ police go to people's residences, with or without probable cause, and knock on the door to obtain plain views of the interior of the house, to question the residents, to seek consent to search, and/or to arrest without a warrant, often based on what they discover during the ‘knock and talk.’ When combined with such other exceptions to the warrant requirement as ‘plain view,’ consent, and search incident to arrest, ‘knock and talk’ is a powerful investigative technique.” Bradley Craig M., “‘Knock and Talk’ and the Fourth Amendment,” Indiana Law Journal 84, no. 4 (2009): 1099 .

25 “Factsheet: The NYPD Muslim Surveillance Program,” American Civil Liberties Union, accessed October 24, 2016, https://www.aclu.org/factsheet-nypd-muslim-surveillance-program.

26 Elizabeth Dunbar, “Comparing the Somali Experience in Minnesota to Other Immigrant Groups,” MPR News, January 22, 2010, http://www.mprnews.org/story/2010/01/25/comparing-the-somali-experience-in-minnesota-to-other-immigrant-groups-of-immigrants-

27 Dina Temple-Raston, “For Somalis in Minneapolis, Jihadi Recruiting is a Recurring Nightmare,” All Things Considered, NPR, February 18, 2015, http://www.npr.org/2015/02/18/387302748/minneapolis-st-paul-remains-a-focus-of-jihadi-recruiting.

28 Akbar Amna, “National Security's Broken Windows,” UCLA Law Review 62, no. 4 (2015): 879 .

29 Aziz, “Policing Terrorists in the Community,” 181.

30 SpearIt, “Muslim Radicalization in Prison: Responding with Sound Penal Policy or the Sound of Alarm?Gonzaga Law Review 49, no. 1 (2014): 3782 .

31 Tariq Toure, Black Seeds: The Poetry and Reflections of Tariq Toure (independently published, 2016), 63.

32 Donna Auston, “Mapping the Intersections of Islamophobia and #BlackLivesMatter: Unearthing Black Muslim Life and Activism in the Policing Crisis,” Sapelo Square, May 19, 2015, last modified August 30, 2016, https://sapelosquare.com/2016/08/30/mapping-the-intersections-of-islamophobia-blacklivesmatter-unearthing-black-muslim-life-activism-in-the-policing-crisis/.

33 James Poniewozik, “A Killing. A Pointed Gun. And Two Black Lives, Witnessing,” New York Times, July 7, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/08/us/philando-castile-facebook-police-shooting-minnesota.html.

34 The Salafis are a conservative Sunni Muslim movement.

35 Introduced by Sherman Jackson, this is the term popularly used to classify African American Muslims who are the descendants of slaves. Jackson classifies as “immigrant Muslims” those Muslims who migrated to the United States or are the progeny of immigrants. Jackson Sherman, Islam and the Blackamerican: Looking toward the Third Resurrection (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 45 . I critique this binary and begin the conversation for a broader framework in Khaled A. Beydoun, “Beyond the Binary: Muslim America More than ‘Indigenous and Immigrant,’” Islamic Monthly, July 23, 2015, http://theislamicmonthly.com/beyond-a-binary-muslim-america-more-than-indigenous-and-immigrant/.

36 Dale Carlson, “3 New Murals on Joseph Campau Avenue in Hamtramck,” I Love Detroit Michigan, May 7, 2015, http://ilovedetroitmichigan.com/detroit-graffiti-street-art/3-new-murals-on-joseph-campau-avenue-in-hamtramck/#!wp-prettyPhoto[g17736]/3/.

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Journal of Law and Religion
  • ISSN: 0748-0814
  • EISSN: 2163-3088
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