Arun Kundnani is a British writer and human rights activist who, as an Open Society Fellow, examined the shortcomings of the “hearts-and-minds” approach to militancy among Muslims in the United States and the United Kingdom.
To varying degrees, law-enforcement agencies in both countries have concluded that supporting “moderate” Muslim voices is an effective means of countering Islamic radicalism. With an apparent increase in “home-grown” terrorism in the United States, Kundnani believes that such policies will become a favored tactic for politicians pressured to take action against Muslim radicals. His project will look at how these approaches are likely to affect civil, political, and cultural rights in target communities.
Kundnani is the editor of Race and Class, published by the Institute of Race Relations in London. In 2009, he wrote a controversial and influential report titled Spooked: How Not to Prevent Violent Extremism, which explored the effects of the Prevent program, the British counter-radicalism policy aimed at Muslim communities.
Kundnani's research aims to provide human rights advocates with a deeper understanding of the potential pitfalls of “hearts-and-minds” policies. His work is of particular value to the Open Society National Security and Human Rights campaign, as well as the organization’s initiatives on migration, the rule of law, and minority rights.