Punishing Violent Thoughts: Islamic Dissent and Thoreauvian Disobedience in Post-9/11 America
Journal of American Studies, Forthcoming
32 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2017 Last revised: 1 Dec 2018
Date Written: August 24, 2017
American Muslims increasingly negotiate their relation to a government that is suspicious of Islam, yet which is legally obligated to recognize them as rights-bearing citizens. To better understand how the post-9/11 state is reshaping American Islam, I examine the case of Muslim American dissident Tarek Mehanna, sentenced to seventeen years in prison for providing material support for terrorism, on the basis of his controversial words ("USA v. Mehanna et al," 2012). I situate Mehanna’s writing and reflections within a long history of American activism, in particular the traditions represented by Henry David Thoreau and John Brown.
Note: **Awarded the British Association of American Studies’ Arthur Miller Centre Essay Prize (2018).**
Keywords: American Islam, dissent, terrorism, violence, non-violence, prison writing, Thoreau, Tarek Mehanna
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