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Posts Tagged ‘prisons’

Britain: Muslim Prison Population Up 200%

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

The number of Muslim convicts in British prisons has surpassed the 11,000 mark for the first time, according to data included in a new report produced by the British Parliament.

The statistics — from a July 29 House of Commons research report entitled, “Prison Population Statistics” — show that the number of Muslim inmates in England and Wales jumped to 11,248 in 2012, up from 3,681 in 1997. Stated another way, over the past 15 years, the number of Muslims in British prisons has jumped by more than 200%.

The rate of increase of Muslim inmates in British prisons is eight times faster than that of the overall prison population, and the numbers show a clear overrepresentation of Muslim convicts: Muslims, who make up roughly 5% of the British population as a whole, now make up 13% of the British prison population (compared to just 6% in 1997).

The growth in the number of Muslim inmates is fueling fears that British prisons are becoming hotbeds for Islamic radicalization.

Although most of the Muslims in British prisons are immigrants from Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, an increasing number of Muslim inmates are converts to Islam.

According to a research report recently commissioned by the British Ministry of Justice, many non-Muslim inmates in British prisons are being bullied into conversion or are embracing Islam in exchange for promises of protection from physical assault.

The study examines the Islamic “gang culture” inside the Whitemoor Prison in Cambridgeshire, which houses around 500 of the most dangerous prisoners in Britain. Researchers from the Cambridge Institute of Criminology who wrote the report found that more than one third (39%) of the prisoners at Whitemoor are Muslims.

Prisoners told the researchers that they had felt overwhelming pressure to convert. In some instances, they said, Muslim inmates had left Islamic literature in their cells and ordered them to “read this.” In other instances, inmates were promised that if they converted to Islam, they would be safe from physical assault.

The report states that if loners, including sex offenders, converted to Islam, fellow Muslims would defend them; they could thereby gain safety from a large and dominant group. Others used their newly acquired faith as a tool for status in establishing influence.

Non-Muslims and prison officers inside Whitemoor described Islam as an “organized gang” and a “protection racket,” which “glorified terrorist behavior and exploited the fear related to it.”

Prison guards said there were “proper Al-Qaeda” members in the prison who were regarded with “awe” by younger inmates. Some prisoners described Whitemoor as a “recruiting drive for the Taliban” and fertile ground for hatred and a new generation of extremists.

Guards also said they had a policy of “appeasement” towards the powerful and growing Islamic prison population, particularly convicted terrorists who were feared to be recruiting future extremists.

The report states: “The threat of assaults motivated by religious fanaticism or extremist ideology added weight to the atmosphere at Whitemoor,” and continues: “The new population mix, including high numbers of Muslim prisoners, was disrupting established hierarchies in the prison. Social relations among prisoners had become complex and less visible. Too much power flowed among some groups of prisoners, with some real risks of serious violence. There were high levels of fear in the prison. In particular, there were tensions and fears relating to ‘extremism’ and ‘radicalization.’”

The report concludes: “More prominent, in practice, were pressures (and temptations) felt by some prisoners to convert to Islam. Conditions in the prison made participation in Islamic practices the most ‘available’ option for those looking for belonging, meaning, ‘brotherhood,’ trust and friendship.”

Meanwhile, British media recently reported that Dale Cregan, a notorious quadruple murderer who is serving a life sentence at the Manchester Prison, is being targeted by extremist Muslims who want to convert him to Islam.

Cregan, who is of Irish Catholic background, is said to be afraid of rival gang members who have offered a bounty to anyone who attacks him in prison. Muslims have offered to protect Cregan if he converts to Islam. According to prison officials, Cregan is so well known that if he converts to Islam, it would be seen as a way to further increase the influence of Muslim gangs inside the prison.

Minister Piron Brought Down by ‘Lethal Joke’

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

A late night debate at the Knesset, about a bill to correct the Prisons code, focusing on the subject of “entering objects into prisons,” was instantaneously turned into a show of irrepressible laughter, to the point of tears, the likes of which has not been seen in the House for years.

Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron took the podium, with the full intent of discussing entering prohibited objects into prison under aggravated circumstances, a seemingly boring topic that makes the late night hour seem even later. But shortly after he began to speak, a few MKs from United Torah Judaism who were all on hand for some reason, cracked a joke—which took Piron by surprise and drove him to uncontrollable laughter. He just couldn’t go on with his comments.

Now, according to a Haredi journalist friend, all MK Gafni did was let out a kind of harrumph sound, making fun of Piron who was about to represent the Netanyahu government on an issue completely outside his field of expertise. He was, basically, saying “here comes the expert…” and that caught Piron off balance.

Peron—a former yeshiva dean—made several attempts to become serious, especially since the deputy speaker, MK Moshe Feiglin, asked everybody present to try and calm down, after all, it’s the Knesset, and people are watching (on Israel’s Channel 99, which is the local version of C-Span) – but the late hour and the fact that the MKs were really tired turned Piron’s desperate attempts to curb his own laughter into even bigger outbursts.

And MK Gafni and his MK buddies—who got Piron in trouble in the first place—continued to giggle and cover their faces with their hands. It was grade school revisited.

Finally, Piron gave up and asked to be replaced by his colleague, Welfare Minister Meir Cohen – who appeared to be struck by the same laughter virus as soon as he had taken the podium.

Jewish Home MK Shuli Mualem took out her smartphone and documented the entire event, possibly planning to use the video as blackmail over future sensitive legislation. But we got our feed from Channel 99…

I’m enclosing the old Monty Python sketch about the lethal joke that brought down the German Army in WW2 – just for comparison. It’s been that kind of a day.



Gentile Prisoners Suddenly Become Jewish for Kosher Food

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

The York, Pennsylvania prison has recorded a sudden upsurge in “Jewish” prisoners, along with a much higher food budget following their demands for kosher food.

The law requires serving kosher food to Jews who request it, but that does not cover the non-Jews. Kosher food has to be prepared outside the prison and costs up to four times the price of a non-kosher meal. Multiply the difference by the 140 “kosher” prisoners and the result is an additional $100,000 a month.

Acting York County Solicitor Donald Reihart said during a recent prison board meeting that the prisoners think kosher food is better, which may or may not be the case.

Rabbi Jeffrey Astrachan of York’s Temple Beth Israel, York’s largest Jewish congregation, told York media, “It’s more expensive to prepare a kosher meal because of the processes that are involved with the slaughtering and the preparation of the food, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the food is any better.

“You could give someone two pieces of bread and a piece of cheese and that could be a kosher meal. It doesn’t mean you’re going to get some brisket or matzo ball soup. They could get a kosher meal that still tastes horrible.”

His congregation has approximately 600 people, one percent of whom keep kosher, he added. There is no orthodox Jewish synagogue in the city, so that leaves the question of how many “outsiders” in the prison are Jewish, which has a population of approximately 2,400. Nearly 1 percent claim they are Jewish, which means there are a whole lot of Jews from elsewhere, or more likely, there are a lot of fakes.

Prison officials are trying to figure out to solve the problem. Some of the Jewish wanabees give themselves away quickly, switching back and forth every so often from kosher to non-kosher meals. Apparently, they just can’t give up the bacon and eggs.

A “circumcision check” would not solve the problem because there are plenty of non-Jews who are circumcised. On the other hand, prison officials could tell those who are not circumcised and who claim they are Jewish that they must get a quick operation on you know where. That would probably work.

That the leaves the question of those who are circumcised but are not Jewish. Their birth certificates could be checked, but then there is the question of those who claim they converted.

Linda Seligson, the cultural director at York’s Jewish Community Center, has an even better idea to get rid of the phony Jews. Simply wait for Passover and see how many of the inmates can get along eating matzah for eight days and sticking to a diet of potatoes and more potatoes because of the Ashkenazi restriction on eating “kitniyot,” such as corn and other grains.

So much for the “food of freedom” for prisoners.

But what about the Sephardim, who do not hold by that custom?

York Daily Record columnist Mike Argento has a better solution. He reminds readers that being a Jew is not all matzo balls and gravy.

If the inmates stay Jewish long enough, they will encounter anti-Semitism, and then the prison budget will go back to where it was.

Appeals Court: Murderer Sincere Enough to Merit Kosher Food

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Max Moussazadeh, a convicted murderer, has won the right to have kosher food provided to him.  The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s ruling which found that Moussazadeh’s request for kosher food was “insincere,” and instead ruled that to deny him kosher food would constitute an infringement on his religious beliefs.

Moussazadeh was convicted and sentenced to 75 years in prison for his part in the fatal shooting of a Texas man in 1993.  The victim was shot to death by three of Moussazadeh’s accomplices, while he served as the lookout during a robbery in Houston.

Although Moussazadeh was incarcerated at a prison in Rosharon, Texas, which had a “kosher kitchen,” he was later transferred to another facility where kosher products were available for purchase, but which did not provide free kosher meals for its inmates.

In his original legal filing on July 15, 2005, Moussazadeh complained that he was “forced to eat non kosher foods” and asked that he be “allowed to receive kosher meals because it is part of [his] religious duty.” He claimed that he was born and raised Jewish, and that his family kept a kosher household.  He also claimed that his faith required him to “eat kosher foods,” and not being able to do so forced him to violate his religious beliefs, for which he believed “God would punish” him.

The lower court had rejected Moussazadeh’s request at least in part because it found that his religious beliefs were not sincere, but the Court of Appeals found that,

In addressing whether Moussazadeh’s religious beliefs were sincere, the district court looked to his words and actions but incorrectly concluded that those factors established insincerity ‘as a matter of law.  ‘ The court decided that Moussezadeh was insincere based on a combination of three findings.  First it found that he purchased “nonkosher” food items including cookies, soft drinks, coffee, tuna, and candy.

The Court rebuked the lower court for failing to understand that there is a difference between food certified as kosher and food that is not certified as such.  In its opinion, the Court of Appeals found that the lower court incorrectly “concluded that items that were not certified as kosher were per se not kosher, but, as Moussazadeh and amicus curaie relate, a certificate does not render food kosher or nonkosher.”  As a matter of American law, “Individuals may practice their religion in any way they see fit, and ‘it is not for the Court to say it is an unreasonable one.’”

Most state prisons and the federal government provide a kosher diet to all observant inmates, while Texas remains one of only 15 states that do not.  According to The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which was co-counsel for this case with Latham & Watkins, “the cost of feeding all observant Jewish inmates in its prison system would be less than 0.02% of its annual food budget.”

“If thirty-five states and the federal government can provide kosher diets to all of their observant Jewish inmates, there is no reason Texas cannot do the same,” said Luke Goodrich,  Deputy General Counsel of the Becket Fund.

The case was sent back to the lower court to determine whether there was an alternative way of providing Moussazadeh with kosher food which was less expensive and addressed any security issues.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/even-convicted-murderers-entitled-to-kosher-food/2013/01/02/

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