‘There’s a lot of repenting’: why Australian prisoners are converting to Islam

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Sidney Opera House. The Muslim Times has the best collection of articles on the rational understanding of Christianity

Source: The Guardian

 and Noor Gillani

Experts say prison conversions can be a positive force, giving inmates hope, structure and a pathway to rehabilitation. It’s when harsh conditions and segregation are introduced that radicalisation becomes a danger

The image was designed to shock: dozens of Muslims prostrated towards Mecca behind the razor wire of Goulburn’s Supermax jail.

“Jailhouse jihad,” the headline blared above a story warning that Australia’s prisons were becoming a hotbed of extremism.

It’s a theme that appears sporadically in the national media. One that, intentionally or otherwise, conflates in the reader’s mind prison-based conversions to Islam and radicalisation.

The truth is, as ever, infinitely more complicated.

Academics, imams and prison workers widely agree that conversions to Islam are now commonplace in Australia’s prisons. But they say the risk of radicalisation, while present, has been overblown.

The sensational headlines risk clouding an important discussion. Can prison conversions be a force for good? And why is it that inmates, at their lowest ebb, are turning to Islam?

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Video: Australian converts share their views on Islam

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Academics, imams and prison workers say conversions to Islam are now commonplace in Australia’s prisons. Photograph: Dave Hunt/AAP

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