The Practice of Islam in Prison
The question of how Muslim prisoners are treated in the prisons of France and England and Wales has a different salience and resonance in each country. The question acquires its significance from the contexts of colonial and post-colonial history, legal systems, political cultures and debates about terrorism. Public discourse about Muslims in prison also follows the contours of these contexts. These high-level considerations are not, however, the only factors that influence the practice of Islam in prisons. This chapter will show that the everyday operation of prisons also exerts a strong influence on the conditions in which Muslim prisoners are able to practise their faith. The chapter begins with the historical development of policies regarding Muslims in the prisons of England and Wales. The implementation of these policies will also be shown to have passed through many evolutions, evoking various responses from prison staff and inmates alike. Particular attention will be paid to perceptions of change concerning the provision of facilities and resources specifically for Muslims. Moreover, the question will be raised of whether these policies and provisions are leading towards an institutionalisation of Islam in prisons.
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