“He Could Be Dangerous”: Orientalism, Deradicalization, and the Representation of Refugee Muslim Boxers in TSN’s Radical Play

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  • 1 University of Toronto
  • | 2 Queen’s University
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In April 2016, TSN (The Sports Network), one of Canada’s most prominent broadcasting stations, aired a documentary miniseries, Radical Play, that describes how European organizations are “harnessing sport to prevent isolated Muslim youth from joining extremist groups.” The documentary focuses on Younes, a 17-year-old refugee in Hamburg, Germany, who has been recruited to participate in a deradicalization program run through a local boxing gym. This article offers a contextualized reading of Radical Play that explores how the problem of radicalization is constructed in the Canadian context, how sport is positioned in relation to deradicalization projects, and how deeply held beliefs about Muslim boys and men are communicated to Canadians through sporting discourses.

Ali is with the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. King is with the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Ali (adamehsan.ali@utoronto.ca) is corresponding author.
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