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Peacemaking criminology and counterterrorism: Muslim Americans and the war on terror

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Few studies have used an ethnographic research methodology as a means of expanding the fundamental concepts of peacemaking criminology. Sixteen months of fieldwork among a Muslim-American community in central Florida, gathering data through participant observation and semi-structured interviews with 443 immigrant and indigenous Muslim Americans, reveal an increased climate of alienation, mistrust, anger, and fear toward law enforcement agencies, and concern on the part of some that the USA PATRIOT Act has diminished the likelihood of Muslim Americans cooperating with police agencies regarding potential terrorism. This paper also examines themes for improving domestic counterterrorism strategies, including the need for law enforcement agencies to make an effort to educate themselves on the basic tenets of Islam, along with its diverse customs and culture, to establish an open active dialogue with community members, and to sustain a relationship with the Muslim-American community based on the foundational concepts of mutual participation, respect, dignity, honor, and social justice.

Keywords: Muslim Americans; USA PATRIOT Act; counterterrorism; peacemaking criminology; war on terror

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Pittsburgh, Bradford, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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