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The Feeling of Being Watched: Discussion Guide

Taking Action and Resources

If the group is having trouble generating their own ideas for next steps, these suggestions can help get things started:

● Learn more about American Muslim cultures, experiences, and religious beliefs.

● Learn more about Arab cultures.

● Examine popular media portrayals of Arab and Muslim cultures to assess how these groups are stereotyped in the U.S.

● Examine your own bias towards Muslims and Arabs.

● Learn about the Freedom of Information Act and how to request information from the FBI.

● Learn more about how your personal data is being used by both the government and private companies.

● Talk with advocates in your community about data justice and ownership of personal data.

● Talk with community organizers who have been doing anti surveillance advocacy and organizing work.

● Learn more about the history of the Operation Vulgar Betrayal and the history of surveilling Muslims.

● Speak out against persecution in your own community when you encounter it. Report acts of discrimination or unfair treatment of religious, ethnic and/or minority groups.

● Organize storytelling circles to create a platform for community members to share experiences; emphasize a safe space where members can safely share stories they haven’t been comfortable speaking up about.

● Participate in intergenerational communication and learning.

● Participate in a workshop on active listening to develop skills to be able to listen deeply without judgement of other peoples’ stories.


The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a U.S. federal law that gives the public access to information possessed by government agencies. Through FOIA, citizens may request the release release information held by the government.

● Operation Vulgar Betrayal

The Inverse Surveillance Project is the is the community engagement and impact strategy for The Feeling of Being Watched. The project engages in community storytelling and AI fueled truth-seeking to nurture a collective healing in American Muslim communities, and compel a radical transparency in government records and data.

The Muslim Wellness Foundation works to reduce stigma and promote healing in the American Muslim community through dialogue, education and training.

● Hosted at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture, The Data Justice Lab is investigating the relationship between datafication and social justice, highlighting the politics and impacts of data-driven processes and big data.

● The 2018 book American Islamophobia details a long history of Islamophobia in the U.S. and its roots in racism and the legal system.