A new report published by Maslaha and T2A focuses on the disproportionate number of young Muslims in the criminal justice system compared to their proportion in the general population. The report ‘Young Muslims on Trial – a scoping study on the impact of Islamophobia on criminal justice decision-making’ examines how perceived prejudice and discrimination against young muslim men can impact on crimnal justice decision making, particularly in sentencing, probation supervision and management in prison.
Based on interviews with groups of young Muslim ex-offenders in London and Leicester, as well as criminal justice professionals, this scoping study has found that young Muslim men who found faith in prison faced suspicion and negativity. The report finds that although only 1% of Muslim offenders are in prison for terrorist offences, there is a perception amongst professionals that prisons can foster radicalisation, and this appears to be setting the tone for a more punitive approach to Muslim offenders. The report also suggests that criminal justice agencies are missing out on an opportunity to harness Islam’s potential to help young Muslims rehabilitate.