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Legalizing the racialization of Muslim : an anti-Orientalist discourse analysis of the Anti-terrorism Act of Canada Patel, Shaista

Abstract

The central argument in this research is that the knowledges produced through the Antiterrorism Act naturalize the Orientalist construction of male Muslim bodies as threats to the nation, while simultaneously legitimizing the Canadian nation as white. This study disrupts the binary of the security versus civil liberties debates surrounding the dominant discourses about the Anti-terrorism Act. Using race, space and the law as critical tools of analysis, I examine the Orientalist rationalities underpinning the successful mobilization of the Antiterrorism Act as a "juridical discourse" of the Canadian nation. I read for the racialized power in the Act in order to argue that the seemingly neutral language of the Act disguises the way it represents the Orientalist construction of male Muslim bodies as inherently violent, and as a threat to the spaces of the white nation. Within this discussion, I also examine how the Orientalist imagining of Muslim women's bodies has been deployed by the Canadian state to reify the image of Muslim man as 'barbaric' and 'uncivilized'. I situate my analysis of the Act within the broader socio-political history of colonized Canada to argue that the Anti-terrorism Act is part of the historically racist and exclusionary discourses of the nation built on stolen land where mythologies of white supremacy are still rampant as official narratives of the nation.

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