Islam in British prisons

Dalrymple writes of a man he met whose ambition was to be a suicide bomber. The man

was an inmate at the prison where I worked. He was a career criminal of very nasty propensities whose father was Arab and mother English. He had reached his 30s, the age at which criminals usually turn away from crime in favour of something better—in his case the killing of as many infidels as possible, along with himself.

Coming to religion is one reason, or pretext, for abandoning crime, says Dalrymple. In the prison

there was much more Islamic evangelism than Christian. I would find Korans and Islamic pamphlets in drawers, insinuated there by I knew not whom, but never Bibles or Christian pamphlets.

Dalrymple interpreted religion

as the means prisoners used to rationalise giving up common crime while at the same time not feeling defeated by, or having surrendered to, the society around them—for they knew conversion to Islam gave that society the shudders.

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