What this is about ...

In 2008, Rizwaan Sabir was a simple student conducting research for his postgraduate degree at Nottingham University.

His life took a dramatic turn when the 27-year-old was arrested by West Midlands anti-terrorism police after he downloaded a manual from a US government website for his research which could be bought at WH Smith, Waterstones and Amazon as well as the university's own library.

After seven days and six nights in police custody, Rizwaan was released without charge or apology. It was later found that the police had “made up” notes to fabricate a case against him.

After his release, his ordeal did not end. He was subjected to a range of surveillance measures including stop and search at the roadside, detentions at the border, monitoring by police and government departments, and an attempt by the UK military to recruit him into their psychological warfare unit.

Yet, these experiences did not deter Rizwaan. He fought and obtained compensation from the police for his arrest. He also continued his studies, and became one of the most acclaimed researchers on British policing of Muslims.

In his first book,”The Suspect - Counterterrorism, Islam, and the Security State”, Dr Rizwaan Sabir writes publicly for the first time about the traumatising mental health effects of these experiences, and argues that these harmful outcomes are not mere mistakes, but the consequences of using a counterinsurgency warfare approach to police Muslims.

Join Dr Rizwaan Sabir, Moazzam Begg, Dr Asim Qureshi to discuss the book and reflect on the impact two decades of community harassment and islamophobic policing have had on the state of mind of Muslims in Britain.


Dr Rizwaan Sabir

Dr Rizwaan Sabir is a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Criminology in the School of Justice Studies at Liverpool John Moores University and has worked here since 2015. His research specialism lays in examining counter-terrorism, counterinsurgency, and armed Muslim groups, especially the way in which counterinsurgency theory, doctrine, and practice have been integrated into the UK's domestic 'War on Terror' infrastructure.

Rizwaan provides analysis on his subject specialism in broadcast media, in the written press, radio, and Twitter (@RizwaanSabir). He also works with a range of civil society, legal, academic, and political organisations such the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on his subject specialism(s).

Moazzam BeggFormer Guantanamo Detainee, Outreach Director (CAGE)

A British-born Muslim, Moazzam Begg is a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner and outreach director for CAGE.

After his release, he became one of the most prominent public-speakers and Muslim advocates for justice and dialogue. 

He is the author of the best-seller Enemy Combatant in which he recounts his experience as an innocent man detained and torture at Guantanamo, Bagram and Kandahar.

The Muslim 500 listed him as one of the 500 “most influential Muslims” in the world.
The New Statesman listed him in the top 50 “Heroes of our time”.

He has travelled extensively to investigate state abuses and western complicity in torture including to Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Syria.

A direct eye-witness to the conflicts in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Syria, his life has been recorded by the Columbia University Oral History project, and the BBC Storyville documentary, The Confession.

Dr Asim Qureshi - Research Director, CAGE

Dr Asim Qureshi is the Research Director at CAGE. He graduated in Law (LLB Hons) LLM, specialising in International Law and Islamic Law. In 2018, he completed his PhD in International Conflict Analysis from the University of Kent. He has published a wide range of NGO reports, academic journals and articles. 

Since 2010, he has been advising legal teams involved in defending death penalty trials in the US and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

He is also the author and editor of three books so far: In 2009, "Rules of the Game: Detention, Deportation, Disappearance" (Hurst, Columbia UP), "A Virtue of Disobedience" (Unbound and ByLine Books), and "I Refuse to Condemn: Resisting racism in times of national security" (Manchester University Press).

An avid reader, Asim launched, a book review platform dedicated to encouraging readers to reflect on how books have made them think.
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