Suleman Nagdi said in response to the Chief Inspector of Prison’s report in Muslims in Prisons. “I welcome the observations of the Chief Inspector having had experience of working in secure establishments. I agree that there is an underdeveloped understanding about Muslims among staff and a tendency to group them together as terrorists or potential terrorists. I believe that Prisons must invest in more staff training so that dialogue can open up between Prisons and the wider community; we all also have a role in prisoner rehabilitation. If prisons simply reinforce it serves merely to marginalise people even more.
Dame Anne’s report, Muslim Prisoners’ Experiences, published today, says that, although several high-profile terrorists have been jailed recently, fewer Muslim inmates have been convicted of terrorism.
She says that prison staff is suspicious about those practising or converting to the faith and warns that treating Muslim inmates as potential or actual extremists risks radicalising them. The report says: “Many Muslim prisoners stressed the positive and rehabilitative role that Islam played in their lives, and the calm that religious observance could induce in a stressed prison environment. This was in marked contrast to the suspicion that religious observance, and particularly conversion or reversion, tended to produce among staff.”
Suleman Nagdi. MBE. DL