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Contesting Neo-orientalism: Terrorism Detentions, Migrant Activism, and the Claim for Justice

  • Iker Barbero
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Citizenship Transitions book series (PASC)

Abstract

This chapter outlines the acts of resistance of the relatives of 11 Pakistani and Indian detainees accused of terrorism in Barcelona, Spain, in 2008. These actions were in opposition to the brutal criminalization to which the Muslim community had been subjected. Rather than considering ‘orientalization’ as an exoticizing strategy or prejudice, this chapter demonstrates that it can be understood as an agonistic strategy of government. Acts of resistance as acts of citizenship play a crucial role in exposing this strategy. Since 2008, not only Muslim migrants but also non-Muslim citizens and non-citizens have mobilized to call for the release of the detainees and the restoration of the presumption of innocence. These acts turned streets, courts, and prisons into sites for contesting the anti-terrorist legislation of exception. These acts also produced new subjects of power: women, youth, and children, who seemingly lacked political subjectivity, had burst onto the scene as political subjects claiming not only freedom and the presumption of innocence of their imprisoned family members but also the dignity of an entire community criminalized by the dominant political and media discourses. This episode in Spain enables us to draw some broader conclusions about Muslims in Europe, neo-orientalization as a strategy of government, and acts of resistance capable of exposing this strategy. Even as they are legally constructed as savage non-citizens incapable of integration, (Muslim) migrants, through their acts of resistance, became activist-citizens against orientalization.

Keywords

Migrant Activism Immigrant Community Muslim Community Irregular Migrant Pakistani Woman 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Iker Barbero 2015

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  • Iker Barbero

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