Detained without Cause: Muslims' Stories of Detention and Deportation in America after 9/11

Overview

Richly told and uniquely heartrending, this book collects personal narratives of Muslim immigrants from Pakistan, Egypt, India, and Palestine who were racially profiled, detained indefinitely, and mistreated following the September 11 attacks. From descriptions of physical abuse at the hands of American prison employees to a harrowing account of extraordinary rendition and torture in Egypt, these powerful stories will inspire both empathy and outrage. Exploring themes of globalization and ethnic tension in the ...

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Detained without Cause: Muslims' Stories of Detention and Deportation in America after 9/11

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Overview

Richly told and uniquely heartrending, this book collects personal narratives of Muslim immigrants from Pakistan, Egypt, India, and Palestine who were racially profiled, detained indefinitely, and mistreated following the September 11 attacks. From descriptions of physical abuse at the hands of American prison employees to a harrowing account of extraordinary rendition and torture in Egypt, these powerful stories will inspire both empathy and outrage. Exploring themes of globalization and ethnic tension in the context of the global war on terror, Irum Shiekh here provides a space for former detainees to tell their stories and reveal the human cost of suspending civil liberties after a wartime emergency.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Part of a series of oral history projects, this brave book presents the first-person narratives of six Muslim men detained on flimsy or invented charges and ultimately deported after September 11, 2001. Though Shiekh originally profiled 40 such cases, this cross-section clearly represents an undeniably larger trend. The introduction coherently frames Shiekh's own experiences with racial profiling (two of her brothers, both U.S. citizens, were investigated by the FBI), along with a concise history of America's penchant for "creating enemy aliens," and the government's systematic tactics for entrapping and justifying this most recent round of detentions. Shiekh is methodical about her research methods and explicit about her communication with detainees, who were humiliated, lied to, and abused in prison. The stories are heartbreaking both in their individuality and their repetition. The power of Shiekh's profile of Pakistani Anser Mehmood grows as we learn the perspective of Mehmood's wife and children. Egyptian national Yasser Ebrahim reflects that, "after two towers fall, you can build hundreds of new towers, but you can't bring back even one life." Though his claim is irrefutable, Shiekh's dedication to honoring these voices and exposing the mistreatment of these men creates momentum from what these families lost.
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Kirkus Reviews

Stories of Muslim immigrants who were arrested and detained as terrorist suspects in the wake of 9/11.

For this volume in the publisher's Studies in Oral History series, scholar Shiekh recorded interviews with some 40 Muslim immigrants among more than 1,000 similarly detained by the United States. She selected six to demonstrate a pattern of racial profiling that led to arrest on suspicion of terrorism, prolonged detention under unrelated criminal charges or immigration violations, and finally deportation. A brief history of Muslim immigration to the United States precedes the narratives. In each case, the author describes the circumstances of the arrest and provides background on the individual. She then lets the person tell his own story, inserting paragraphs of clarification from time to time, resulting in a close-up portrait of a human being under enormous stress. The stories of lengthy detention in high-security jails, sometimes in isolation, and of psychological and physical abuse, challenge the government's position that the detainees were simply picked up and deported for immigration violations. Shiekh's interviews reveal not only the state of mind of detainees during their incarceration but also how the arrest and terrorist charges damaged the individual's reputation and livelihood once back in his native land, how this impacted his family and how it has affected attitudes toward the United States. The author argues that in an emotionally charged political climate that equated looking like a Muslim with being a terrorist, the U.S. government violated the basic civil rights of a vulnerable group, as it did in World War II to Japanese Americans. Shiekh, who was inspired to write this book after her two brothers were investigated by the FBI as possible terrorists, makes absolutely clear where her sympathies lie, and she urges lawyers to take up these cases and seek reparations from the government.

Illuminates the strains between national security and civil liberty and puts a human face on some often-demonized members of society.

From the Publisher
“Part of a series of oral history projects, this brave book presents the first-person narratives of six Muslim men detained on flimsy or invented charges and ultimately deported after September 11, 2001. Shiekh is methodical about her research methods and explicit about her communication with detainees, who were humiliated, lied to, and abused in prison. The stories are heartbreaking both in their individuality and their repetition. Shiekh's dedication to honoring these voices and exposing the mistreatment of these men creates momentum from what these families lost.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“Illuminates the strains between national security and civil liberty and puts a human face on some often-demonized members of society.”—Kirkus
 

Detained Without Cause meticulously illuminates the struggles, humiliation and life-changing experiences of Muslims in the United States following the 9/11 attacks. These first-hand accounts give voice to human suffering endured in the Orwellian world of law enforcement after Sept. 11, 2001. Especially timely, Detained’s powerful narratives reveal the danger of suspending civil liberties, bending the rule of law, and justifying human rights abuses allegedly in the name of national security or the infamous “war on terror.”—Washington Report
 
“In the aftermath of 9/11, U.S. officials pushed the war on terror well beyond the rule of law in ways that Orwell and Kafka imagined decades ago. Irum Shiekh’s Detained without Cause offers first-hand accounts of a troubling period in recent history by giving voice to those who suffered brutal treatment by American operatives.”—Michael Welch, author of Scapegoats of September 11th
 
“Irum Shiekh’s book is a model of ethically engaged scholarship—carefully and deliberately researched but also passionately committed to justice. Its strength lies in the six powerful narratives of 9/11 detainees that make up its core. And it is precisely in creating a space where those individual voices can be heard that Shiekh most eloquently indicts a system that so completely disregarded individual rights in the name of a supposedly greater good.”—Teresa Barnett, Center for Oral History Research, University of California, Los Angeles
 
“This book provides a collection of powerful oral histories of a very important moment in U.S. history, narrated from the perspective of those whose lives were irrevocably transformed by the experience of racial profiling, detention, and deportation after the events of 9/11. The stories all illustrate the devastating and painful impact on the narrators of being considered ‘terrorist’ suspects, detained in prison, abused by guards, confronted with the hypocrisy of the U.S. justice system regarding their constitutional rights, and returbaned to their home countries with a profound transformation in their earlier beliefs in the U.S. as a land of freedom and democracy.”—Sunaina Maira, Professor, Asian American Studies, University of California at Davis

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230103825
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Series: Palgrave Studies in Oral History
  • Pages: 258
  • Sales rank: 1,448,443
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Irum Shiekh is a Visiting Scholar of Asian American Studies at UCLA and currently is a Fulbright scholar at Birzeit University in Palestine.

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Table of Contents

Azmath Mohammad: Transnational Implications of 9/11 Detentions
• Ansar Mahmood: Lifelong Deportation: A Legal Resident’s Punishment for Helping a Friend
• Anser Mahmood and Family: Uprooting Immigrants, Uprooting Families
• Nabil Ayesh: Loss of Civil Liberties for Muslims after 9/11
• Mohammad E.: Propagating and maintaining the global war on terror
• Yaser Ebrahim: Reclaiming civil rights

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