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Living Islam in prison: how gender affects the religious experiences of female and male offenders

Schneuwly Purdie, Mallory, Irfan, Lamia, Quraishi, Muzammil and Wilkinson, Matthew 2021. Living Islam in prison: how gender affects the religious experiences of female and male offenders. Religions 12 (5) , 298. 10.3390/rel12050298

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Addressing a significant gap in the knowledge of female Muslim prisoners’ religiosity, this paper describes and explains the gendered impact of incarceration on the religiosity of Muslim female and male offenders. Based on quantitative and qualitative data collected in ten prisons, including a male and female prison in England and a male and female prison in Switzerland, the authors show that prison tends to intensify the religiosity of Muslim men and reduce the religiosity of Muslim women. In explanation of this, the authors argue that, at the individual level, the feelings of guilt at the absence of family, the absence of high-status religious forms of gender and feelings of trauma and victimhood impact negatively on Muslim female offenders’ religiosity. At the institutional level, female Muslim prisoners, being a small minority, do not mobilise a powerful shared religious identity and chaplaincy provision—including provision of basic religious services—is patchier for Muslim women than it is for men and often does not take into account the specific needs of female prisoners.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Additional Information: This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/).
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 2077-1444
Funders: The Dawes Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 March 2022
Date of Acceptance: 14 April 2021
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2022 11:30

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