Events in the Middle East have often led to the stereotyping of Moslems, be they connected with Occupied Palestine, Sadaam Hussein or something else. At the time of the Oklahoma bomb, “Middle East crazies”, ie Arab terrorists or Islamic “extremists” were a prime target of the controlled media. It is of course as absurd to stereotype Moslems as it is any other group. There are, it is true, “extremists” who identify themselves as Moslems, but these are no more representative of Islam than are those “Christians” who in the past used their religion to justify slavery, or those Zionists who cloak their Jewish supremacy in the guise of Judaism. One place where Islamophobic stereotypes most definitely do not persist is in HM Prisons.
Prisons have of course long been a hunting ground for religions in search of converts. Most men in prison have problems, even if it is only being there. And when people are in trouble, they often turn to religion. British prisons are well catered for, largely by the Christian churches, but Islam has a strong foothold and is making headway.
In American prisons, the Black Muslims have a strong presence. In British prisons, Moslems of Asian extraction are dominant, although there are many black converts. And, increasingly, there are white ones. In my time in Brixton I met two white Moslems, both of them serving life sentences. One had converted to Islam during his incarceration but the other has, apparently, been a Moslem for several years.
Moslem service is held regularly in Brixton - on Fridays - and all are welcome. Copies of the Koran and other Islamic texts are distributed, and Halal diets and religious festivals are catered for. Hopefully, Islamic economics will also take a foothold here and in the rest of Western society. Until riba is abolished in its entirety, there can be no hope for mankind.
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