In a political moment that includes various iterations of a “Muslim Ban,” and a resurgent mainstreaming of white nationalism, race and religion clearly remain hotly contested in American life. And yet, in much of the recent scholarship and public debate on these issues, the intersecting experiences of Black Muslims are often elided, if not entirely forgotten.
This Article focuses in on the experiences of policing faced by Somali Muslims, within a larger Black Muslim community. In it, I examine the ways in which the federal “Countering Violent Extremism” program has been mobilized against this particular group of Black Muslims—not only as a technology of surveillance, but a racializing one as well. I seek to center this case study within the broader historical context of Black Muslims in America, as an example of how religion and race have often been co-constitutive of Black Muslims’ racial experience. Examining the intersectional racial experience of Black Muslims reveals that which might otherwise be missed—the inherent racialization of religion, and the antiblack origins of American Islamophobia.