Producing ‘internal suspect bodies’: Divisive effects of UK counter-terrorism measures on Muslims in Leeds and Bradford

leeds muslims

Research on UK government counter-terrorism measures has claimed that Muslims are treated as a ‘suspect community’. However, there is limited research exploring what effect belonging to a ‘suspect community’ has on relations within Muslim communities.

This paper by Dr Madeline-Sophie Abbas, currently a Senior Lecturer in Racism and Anti-Racism in the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University, addresses this gap.

Drawing from interviews with British Muslims living in Leeds or Bradford, Dr Abbas explores how the co-option of Muslim community members to Prevent fractures relations within Muslim communities.

The paper reveals how community members internalise fears of state targeting, which precipitates internal disciplinary measures.

Academically, the paper contributes to the category of the  ‘internal suspect body’, which appears via two intersecting conditions within preventative counter-terrorism: the suspected extremist for Muslims to look out for and the suspected informer who might report fellow Muslims.

Dr Abbas argues that the suspect community operates through a network of relations by which “the terrors of counter-terrorism” are reproduced within Muslim communities.

The full paper was published in the British Journal of Sociology and is available here.

Photo by Benjamin Elliott on Unsplash

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