UK: Prisoners refuse to take part in rehabilitation programs
See also: UK: Sex offender treatment problematic for Muslims
Scores of the Britain's 10,000 Muslim prisoners - who account for one in eight of all inmates - are refusing to take part in Offending Behaviour Programmes (OBPs ), claiming it is 'forbidden' or 'Haraam'.
Haraam refers to anything that is prohibited by faith, and in Islamic culture criminals are barred from discussing their offences with others.
Previously, Muslim prisoners refused to take part in Sex Offender Treatment Programmes because it involved talking about offences against women, but now some are refusing to take part in all rehabilitation sessions where they have to 'open up' in front of other cons.
Among the courses some Muslims - who now make up 12 per cent of the prison population - are declining to take part in are the Cognitive Self Change Programme (CSCP), just one of 13 OBPs on offer from the prison service,
The CSCP, which treats 7,000 prisoners each year, targets 'high risk violent offenders' and offers individual and group sessions to prisoners.
The course claims to: "Equip prisoners with skills to help them control their violence and avoid reconviction.
One Muslim prisoner, Abu Dira, a maximum security prisoner at HMP Long Lartin in Worcestershire, said this week: "Muslims cannot speak about their past crimes in a group setting.
"It is an established concept within the Sharia that a Muslim must not speak about the Haraam - prohibited things - and certainly should not advertise past mistakes to their peers."
He says that it is clear from the words of Islamic prophet Muhammad, called a Hadith, that it was wrong to talk about past crimes.
He said: "This is clearly supported by Hadith - If you keep your evil away from the people, Allah will record this as a charitable act from yourself for yourself, so corruption is not to be spread amongst Muslims."
A Prison Service spokesperson confirmed that a review of procedures was underway and that discussions were being held with Muslim prison chiefs.
He said: "A very small number of Muslim prisoners have raised concerns with the Muslim Adviser.
"The Muslim Adviser is looking at different Islamic standpoints so there can be further discussion."
He said, however, that at the moment no Muslim prisoner would be exempt from a rehab course on the grounds of religion alone.
In 2008 the Prison Service's Muslim Adviser Ahtsham Ali said it was a 'legitimate Islamic position' that criminals should not discuss their crimes with others.
Source: Daily Telegraph