Chapter 6

Security and Insecurity in a Global “War on Terrorism”: Arab-Muslim Immigrant Experience in a Post-9/11 America

by Christopher Dole

In this chapter, cultural anthropologist Christopher Dole focuses on the highly personal level of post-9/11 experiences of Arab and Muslim men in the United States. He brings forward the testimony of men for whom the U.S. government’s responses to 9/11 brought back memories of psychologically-traumatic repression they had suffered before, in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Morocco, eliciting fears that they thought they had escaped by migrating to the United States. Whatever security gains have accrued to the majority population, a prevalent experience of Middle Easterners and South Asians in the United States, post-9/11, has been the renewal of long-dormant feelings of insecurity.

Study Questions

  1. Drawing upon the U.S. government’s domestic responses to 9/11 for examples, in what ways does the state manufacture both feelings of fear and security among citizens and non-citizens?
  2. What sorts of emotions, memories, and experiences do Dole’s Middle Eastern and South Asian Muslim interviewees speak of having in response to post-9/11 investigations and detentions?