Islam, ‘Race’ Relations and Discrimination in Prison
One of the constant themes of this book is the sharp difference between France and England and Wales in terms of how each country seeks to integrate its immigrants and successive generations of their descendants. France favours a model of republican citizenship with codes of law designed to offer equal rights and equal protection to all individuals regardless of ethnic, racial or religious background. Britain has moved some way towards incorporating elements of an individual rights-based notion of citizenship but is also wedded to the importance of communal identities. Consequently, the law and public institutions in England and Wales recognise the need to protect certain communities or to exempt them from otherwise universal requirements. Nowhere is this clearer than in the legislation regarding ‘race relations’. In the circumstances, this chapter necessarily places a heavy emphasis on the legal and administrative framework of race relations and other aspects of what is now termed ‘diversity’ in the prisons of England and Wales. The absence of such a framework in France means that our analysis is necessarily limited to the experiences of racism reported by Muslim prisoners and discussed by prison staff.
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