Asim Qureshi, "I Refuse to Condemn: Resisting Racism in Times of National Security" (Manchester UP, 2020)

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In times of heightened national security, scholars and activists from the communities under suspicion often attempt to alert the public to the more complex stories behind the headlines. But when they raise questions about the government, military and police policy, these individuals are routinely shut down and accused of being terrorist sympathizers or apologists. In such environments, there is immense pressure to condemn what society at large fears.

I Refuse to Condemn: Resisting Racism in Times of National Security (Manchester University Press, 2021) explains how the expectation to condemn has emerged, tracking it against the normalization of racism, and explores how writers manage to subvert expectations as part of their commitment to anti-racism. In my conversation with the collection’s editor, Asim Qureshi, Research Director of CAGE, an independent advocacy organization, we discuss the culture of condemnation and the presumption of guilt, its psychological and physiological impacts, issues of trauma, white supremacy and racism as a system of power, structural racism’s relationship to national security, Prevent and countering violent extremism programs, cultural representation, the role of artists and performers, the afterlife of one’s work or art, and advocacy to dismantle anti-Muslim racism.

Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at kpeterse@odu.edu.

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