The Informant, Islam, and Muslims in New York City
par Ibrahim Bechrouri, doctorant à l’Institut Français de Géopolitique, Université Paris 8/Columbia Universit
Surveillance is part of the Muslim New Yorker experience, and informants, almost always Muslim themselves, are part of their communities. It is in this context that Muslim New Yorkers partly rely on Islamic theology to question their experience with state surveillance. As this article demonstrates, Muslim interpretations of theology tend to see suspicion and surveillance as sinful conduct, rendering the mission of the informant sinful in the eyes of Muslim New Yorkers. Moreover, as suspicion, monitoring, and spreading rumors is often interpreted as Islamically sinful, targets of surveillance often feel conflicted about suspecting a fellow Muslim of being an informant or even discussing such suspicions with other individuals. Moreover, relying on Islamic theology to deal with their experience as surveilled subjects does not prevent Muslims from toning down their religious visibility in order to avoid state surveillance because of chilling effects and the mechanisms of internment of the psyche.