Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The proposed solution to this Muslim criminality? More Islam. Note that the figure for the Muslim share of Britain's population quoted in this article - 3% - is way off. That's based on the 2001 census. The Muslims are doubling their numbers approximately every 11 years, so the Muslim demographic should be twice what it was then. Also note that half of the Mohammedans are under 25.
A generation of young Muslims is turning to crime and ending up in jail because of the old-fashioned attitudes in Britain’s mosques, according to the Prison Service’s Muslim adviser.

The cleric also blamed family breakdown, difficulties with arranged marriages, drugs and the absence of male role models for the surge in the number of Muslims behind bars.
In an interview with The Times, Ahtsham Ali was highly critical of mosques for failing to understand young Muslims raised in Britain.

He describes it as a “tragedy” that most mosques continue to import foreign imams who cannot speak English and who focus only on religious rituals, such as the correct way to pray. This had led to young people turning away from religion in droves, he said.

“It is a tragedy. I have seen youngsters, the next generation, just totally switch off from it. This is dangerous. It allows others to take advantage, to take up the vacuum.”
The Muslim population in prison has been one of the fastest rising over the past 20 years, increasing from 1,957 in 1991 to 10,600 this year.

Muslims represent 12.6 per cent of the total jail population in England and Wales, compared with a proportion of about 3 per cent of the general population. One reason for this over-representation is because about half the country’s Muslim community is under 25 and criminal behaviour is at its highest among the under 30s.

Mr Ali said the community had to act to prevent more ending up in prison.“There is a lot of family breakdown happening now. The divorce rate is very high,” he said. “I think there is a struggle for those who have been born and brought up here and their acceptance of arranged marriage,” he said.

Young Muslims also faced difficulties reconciling the teachings of the mosque with being brought up in secular Britain, he said.

Progress had been limited because elders on mosque committees, many of which were not democratic, were reluctant to change, he said. Too many were concerned with the rituals of faith such as the correct length of the beard rather than making mosques more attractive to young men and women.

He went on: “Nearly all mosques are their own independent kingdoms and they will decide what to do. Mosque committees have supreme power. Most will get imams imported from other countries who can’t speak English. More importantly they can’t relate to second and third-generation youngsters growing up here.”

It was often only in prison that a Muslim would come across an imam able to speak English fluently. “Prison imams will play five-a-side football, will go around and chat. Ask how was the film last night. That kind of relevant bonding is very good. I have had prisoners say to me, ‘Tell me why do I have to go to prison to get an good imam?’ That is the sad state of affairs we have.”

Mr Ali, who has been the Prison Service’s Muslim adviser for 8½ years, said: “I believe I have got the cream of Muslim imams in Britain, which is a shame in one sense.” Latest figures seen by The Times show that there are 55 full-time imams in jails, who are assisted by 59 part-timers and a further 96 working on a sessional basis.

Mr Ali urged mosques to make themselves more accessible to the young. “Make religon fun. Have a pool table in the basement of the mosque, that kind of thing,” he said. Greater emphasis should also be put on teaching religious ethics, how to be a good neighbour and become involved in the community. Honesty, neighbourliness and kindness should be at the core of teaching in the mosque so people think twice before criminal behaviour.

Muslims for UK said some of Mr Ali’s criticisms were fair, but he failed to understand the difficulties that mosque committees faced. “It is certainly true to say that too many imams cannot relate to our Muslim youth,” Inayat Bunglawala, chairman of Muslims for UK, said. “However, imams are generally very poorly paid, and so you do not see many Muslim youngsters wanting to become imams.”
Source: The Times (£)


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