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Muslims in a Post-9/11 America: A Survey of Attitudes and Beliefs and Their Implications for U.S. National Security Policy, Rachel M. Gillum

Reviewed by Ann Lin

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In the wake of September 11, 2001, both local and national law enforcement turned attention to the possibility of homegrown terrorism. Potential attackers “hiding in plain sight” within Muslim communities and institutions were to be rooted out through the use of surveillance, informants, and stings. Nearly two decades later, however, this approach has yielded little, measured either by successful prosecutions or by the prevention of credible attacks. As chronicled by Rachel Gillum’s book, Muslims in a Post-9/11 America: A Survey of Attitudes and Beliefs and Their Implications for U.S. National Security Policy, it may actually reduce the trust in law enforcement that is necessary for it to succeed.

Gillum asks whether American Muslims view the use of violence differently than other religious groups and whether they are willing to assist law enforcement in fighting terrorism. Using a nationally representative survey of Muslims, she documents significant diversity within the Muslim population. Over 60 percent of Nation of Islam adherents, with their history of opposing racism through self-defense and self-determination, support the use of violence to defend those who suffer from it. By contrast, only 21 percent of foreign-born Muslims would agree (pp. 42–44). She also shows

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