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The previous two chapters have shown that, although social processes of categorisation appear to be universal in prison, the outcomes are necessarily different in the prisons of France and England and Wales. This is partly because of differences between the countries’ systems of law and criminal justice and partly because of differences between their respective modes of accommodating religious and ethnic minorities. This chapter will take the analysis one step further by examining the differential salience of questions about Muslim prisoners in the two countries. It will examine a wide range of contexts that bring issues about Islam and prisons to the fore in particular – and distinctive – ways. Beginning with England and Wales, the argument will attribute special significance to the history of church-state relations and the role of the Church of England as a ‘broker’ for other faiths in the public realm. The second half of the chapter will examine how the French Republic’s constitutional doctrines of laïcité have influenced the treatment of Muslim prisoners. It will also emphasise the consequences for the treatment of Muslims that can be traced back to France’s colonial ventures in Africa and the perception that is widespread in many sections of French society that Muslims are associated with political extremism, if not terrorism.
KeywordsAsylum Seeker Research Context Prison Population Religious Freedom Faith Community
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