In keeping with details, the non-Muslim prisoners in UK’s first Muslim majority prison are facing an increased pressure to convert to Islam. Cambridgeshire’s Whitemoor prison has now emerged as UK’s first ever prison which has the highest number of Muslim inmates. According to estimates, the number of Muslim inmates has doubled since 2008.
The jail staff has been warned about radicalisation threats and so far the situation is worsening with the passage of time. Recently a report complied by Independent Monitoring Board portrays a dismal picture. It states that an increased number of Muslim inmates is “affecting the social nature of the jail and disrupting established hierarchies.”
“Against this background we note that some prisoners and staff found the Muslim presence overwhelming. The social and religious fragmentation within Whitemoor potentially posed risks for discipline and hence safety,” the report said.
“There were some intimidating ‘heavy players’ among the Muslim population who appeared to be orchestrating prison power dynamics rather than propagating or following the faith.” These powerful players use their “their (newly-acquired) faith status as a tool for establishing status,” the report says.
According to the report, the prevailing group of inmates in the prison includes Muslims who are now substituting the greater diversity of criminals that had before existed. In keeping this phenomenon in the view, the report also included a section of a leading edge study conducted by Alison Leibling in 2012 about the increasing influence of Islam in prisons.
During the study, Alison Liebling and her research teams was told by the prisoners that they were frequently forced into converting to Islam, while those who refuse to give in to would avoid cooking pork in shared kitchens just to avoid conflict. The study further pointed put that some of the prisoners revealed that the jail served as a “recruiting ground” for radicalism where the younger inmates were “in awe” of old lag terrorists detained there.