Manual outlines Muslim radicalization in prisons

Security officials from several European countries have developed a manual to help prison authorities prevent their jailhouses from becoming incubators for Muslim extremists. The manual, developed by France, Germany and Austria, includes signs that may indicate that a prisoner was becoming radicalized, including the presence of a growing beard. A prison group feared the manual could stigmatize Muslim inmates. The document was distributed at a two-day closed-door conference of European security experts that ended Wednesday. It will be given to prison personnel. Prisons “can be a facilitator and an accelerator” of radicalization and inmates are often “strongly destabilized” and therefore malleable, said Christophe Chaboud, head of France’s Anti-Terrorist Coordination Unit.
“It is not a question of religion but of confrontation with the West,” Chaboud said in a telephone interview. Islam is the second-largest religion in France and, while there are no official figures available, Muslims make up a large part of the inmate population — the majority in some prisons.
A disproportionate number of Muslims can be found in prisons in other European Union countries.
France, working with EU partners, found they shared problems of Muslim radicalization in prisons, Chaboud said. U.S. officials are also concerned about the potential for radicalization in their prisons. Elaine Ganley reports.

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Archbishop of Canterbury Pleads for Islamic Law

With his plea for recognition of the Muslim legal system in Britain, the archbishop of Canterbury has outraged his people. In doing so, he has driven a wedge into the center of a passionate national debate. He should have known what he was getting into. Rowan Williams, 57, the archbishop of Canterbury, is an educated man, a noted poet and a brilliant theologian. But he’s never been a very skilled politician. And so it happened. Last Thursday, Williams stood before 1,000 spectators in London’s Royal Courts of Justice. He’s a man with a white beard and white hair sprouting in all directions. In his warm baritone voice, he spoke about the relationship between civil and religious law. It was a complicated speech, one that wasn’t easy to understand. But it ignited a raging debate. A day later, The Sun tabloid labeled him a “a dangerous threat to our nation,” and the Daily Express wrote that he had capitulated to Muslim extremists. The tabloids used words such as “outcry” and “rage” to_describe the public reaction and called for him to resign. Mathieu von Rohr reports.

Cambridge mullah John Butt takes on radicals with radio

{John Butt, the Muslim chaplain at Cambridge University, has started a radio show broadcast to Afghanistan and Pakistan} From debating in the cloisters of Cambridge to defying fanatics across the wilds of Pakistan’s North West Frontier province – it could be one man’s journey out of the pages of Rudyard Kipling a century ago. Yet with his flowing robes, long white beard and skull cap, John Butt, 57, is at the centre of a very modern struggle in Peshawar, the capital of a province amply supplied with guns and religion. Butt has single-handedly started a groundbreaking radio programme called Across the Border, broadcast over a network of independent stations to listeners in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A public schoolboy and professional broadcaster, a convert to Islam and respected cleric, he has brought his combination of talents to the battle against militants who preach violence in the name of God. Tim Albone reports.