I read that the government is considering building a Muslim-only prison, in order to better ensure the safety of Muslim prisoners, particularly those of the terrorist persuasion. This follows attacks on the jailed terrorists Dhiren Barot (which I discussed here) and Hussein Osman, and the alleged receipt of death threats by Omar Khyam. Aside from protecting these terrorist lowlife from the justified anger that they arouse even in criminals’ hearts, it is expected that the special Muslim-only prisons will enable staff to better cater (or should that be pander?) to Muslims’ dietary and prayer requirements.
Well, screw that! Personally, I really couldn’t care less if "people" like Barot or Osman are getting attacked – indeed, as my comments following the attack on Barot show, I am more supportive of than opposed to prisoners (or anyone else) giving such creatures the beating of a lifetime. So what if they suffer in jail: it’s no more than they deserve.
Neither do I see why Muslims, or anyone else, should have their unusual dietary requirements catered to. If you’re a law-abiding person, you have every right to insist on keeping Halal, or Kosher, or on being a vegetarian. But when you’re in prison, then your right to deviate from the expected norm vanishes: beggars can’t be choosers, and neither should prisoners. That’s one of the purposes of having prisons, and punishments for those who break the law: you lose some of your rights, and some of your freedoms. In my opinion, prisoners should be given the cheapest, most low-quality food available, and told that if they don’t like it, they can, to coin a phrase, lump it.
Equally, while I would generally say that religion in prisons is a good thing, I think that it is clear to all thinking people, that Islam is an exception to this rule. After all, if you’ve been sent to jail because of terrorist offences committed because you are a Muslim, then I would think that the last thing anyone should want is for you to be further exposed to the religion that has driven you to commit such actions. The worryingly high number of young Muslim men who are radicalised while in prison is a further reason to be suspicious of a plan to put them in an environment where their religious demands are catered for in every conceivable way, and where, indeed, they would only be in the company of their fellow Muslims.
Indeed, the only possible reason that I can think of for wishing to segregate Muslim prisoners from non-Muslims, is to protect the non-Muslims. After all, there have been reports of Muslim inmates forcibly converting non-Muslim prisoners to Islam. But a better solution to that problem would be to simply split up Muslim prisoners, so that, rather than mixing exclusively with other Muslims, as the government seems to wish, they mix almost exclusively with non-Muslims. Then, not only would they be unable to form themselves into gangs and intimidate other inmates into converting, but they would also be unable to radicalise young Muslim inmates, or to plan further terrorist atrocities. And if Dhiren Barot gets his neck broken, well, that’s just a price we’ll all have to pay.
Postscript: Some readers may recall that in the aftermath of the latest efforts by followers of the Religion of Peace to slaughter hundreds of people, Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s favourite dhimmi, Ken Livingstone, claimed that "Muslims are more likely to be law-abiding than non-Muslims". I wonder, in that case, how he accounts for the fact that, while Muslims currently make-up just 3% of the total UK population, they constitute fully 12% of the UK’s prison population. Don’t seem to be quite so law-abiding after all, do they?