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Dissertation Defense for Sharmin Sadequee

May 11, 2017 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Crafting Muslims with Accusation of Terrorism: Islam, Secularism and Religious Violence in the United States

Date:               Thursday, May 11, 2017

Time:              3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

Location:        Room 155 Baker Hall

Student:          Sharmin Sadequee



This dissertation explores the ways in which securitized laws of the State intervenes in regulating and controlling Muslims and Islam through predatory prosecutions or “terrorism” cases in the United States.  In order to eliminate terrorism violence, the security state has created an exception to regular legal norms and practices and abrogated the human dignity, legal rights and political citizenship of the accused by creating a court within a court and prison within prison, where normal legal procedures are not followed for those Muslim immigrants and American Muslim citizens accused of “terrorism” related offenses. The questions I try to address in this project include: How has Islam and Muslim been conditioned and impacted by securitized secular laws of the state through “terrorism” cases? In what way those involved in advocacy around the accused Muslims challenge and resist such laws and practices?

Following 24 months of ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with families of the accused, activists, lawyers, human rights organizations and observation of federal court proceedings and review of writings of the accused, I try to understand the practices of security laws concerning preventive terrorism prosecutions and their impact, both inside and outside of judicial system, as well as the anxieties of the secular security state and the lived experiences of Muslim Americans. While preventive “terrorism” prosecutions claim to eradicate violence by using security-obsessed laws, the main concerns of the security state has been about eradicating religious thought and practice that contradict the secular law’s definition of legal or “acceptable” religion.  This entanglement of law into religion and religion in law in the modern secular security state in a state of exception extends the power of the state to craft a palatable version of Islam.


May 11, 2017
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm


155 Baker Hall