The Unplanned Effects of Racialised Counter-Radicalisation Policy in the UK

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 09:30
Oral Presentation
Fernan OSORNO, University of Bristol, United Kingdom
The transition from the War on Terror to counter-radicalisation policies in Western countries most likely to host a home-grown terrorist attack has ushered in a top-down racialised society. The main transition consisted of a shift in the focus of security logic from an external threat to an internal one. Counter-terrorist reaction to external threats was displayed through military intervention in the Middle East and the establishment of state of exception security schemes to limit international organizations from plotting further attacks against Western interests. Counter-terrorist reaction to internal threats later extended exceptional law enforcement towards a preventive logic to detect and interrupt home-grown terrorism. How efficient have these policies been securing the lives of civilians? Furthermore, what are the unintended side effects of policies that underline religious and racial divides? Security seems to fall one step behind terrorist logic as lone-wolf domestic attacks in Europe increase, most of which require close to zero strategic preparation, training or sophisticated tools, inspired (not directed) by terrorist networks. Meanwhile, the reconfiguration of law under the logic of prevention has three inevitable consequences: 1) providing citizens unequal access to the law through the racialization of preventive policing, 2) forcing the use of policies that favour specific practices and interpretations of Islam (Peter in Eckert 2008; Sadiq & Raissa 2015), and 3) perpetuating the growing presence of racism and ‘us’ versus ‘them’ rhetoric in society. This paper will analyse recent data published in the UK by the Social Mobility Commission (2017) which shows that Muslim youths face increasing discrimination and racism that considerably limits their socio-economic development. It will compare this with the socially alienating effects of the counter-radicalisation programme Prevent, to discuss to what extent there is a linear effect between counter-radicalisation policies, racialized security and Muslim social mobility in the UK.