King of the World

Episode 5: Watch Us, Listen to Us—Surveillance

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Episode notes

It’s 2008 and Shahjehan has just booked a one-way ticket to Pakistan. He moves in with his best friend and Kominas bandmate in Lahore, where new musical and social highs are interwoven with drug relapses, encounters at gunpoint, and Al-Faida conspiracy theorists. News from his hometown mosque in Wayland reveals that a childhood friend has been convicted of terrorist activities, which brings to question government-orchestrated spying and just whom the First Amendment applies to. 

The Muslim Justice League’s Amira Al-Subaey and real-life victim Asad Dandia break down the Obama-era Countering Violent Extremism program, based on a since-debunked radicalization theory, which in reality counters little except faith in our leaders and one’s neighbors. This post-9/11 period of more anti-nationalist criticism, regular airport profiling, and legitimized discrimination only seems to be dividing communities and making Americans less safe.

For more information on our guests in this episode, check out the Rifelion blog. Also visit to send us an audio message, some of which will play on future episodes.