Understanding the Impact of Surveillance and Security Measures on Canadian Muslim Men: A Mixed Methods Approach
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This study explores the ‘chilling effect’ of national security measures, in particular security certificates, on the Canadian Muslim male population. While the constitutionality and use of certificates have been widely debated, few studies have explored the impact of security certificates and other national security measures on the Muslim/Arab population in particular. Using explanatory mixed methods I explore the perceptions of surveillance experienced by this group and note significant quantitative and qualitative differences on Muslim men compared to non-Muslim men. Survey data (50n) illustrate a “chilling effect” among Muslim men in my study, who are significantly less likely to exercise their civil liberties. Through open ended interviews, Muslim male respondents (20n) describe the consequences of the “chill” in their daily lives, on their religious identity, practices, and perceptions of belonging. These consequences, according to participants, lead to feelings of insecurity, vulnerability, disenchantment, and possibly even to radical views. This research offers suggestions in understanding Muslim subjectivity and the role of dialogue to contribute meaningfully to the state’s efforts in understanding and countering terror. Findings and implications from this research offer practical and timely insight to an issue that is confronting Western liberal democracies.