2011: Volume 4, Issue 2, pp. 13-31

Trapped in the Carceral Net: 
Race, Gender, and the “War on Terror”

Yasmin Jiwani



The events of September 11, 2001 unleashed a series of security measures designed ostensibly to protect Western nations from terrorist attacks. Many of these measures were aimed at keeping out potential terrorists and neutralizing potential terrorist activities. However, many were also aimed at citizens within the nation, legitimizing their exclusion and denial of rights. Drawing on the case of Omar Khadr, this paper argues that the carceral net ensnaring Omar Khadr was in operation well before 2001. However, since then, the carceral net has tightened to render Muslim bodies unworthy on the grounds of their putative criminality, and as undeserving victims, unbefitting state intervention and societal sympathy. The colour line, I argue, demarcates bodies that are considered worthy as opposed to those precarious others who can be penalized by the state and whose lives simply do not matter. Race, class and gender intersect and interlock to construct particular representations of victimhood as demonstrated by contemporary media representations of Muslim women.



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