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Prisons, Radical Islam's New Recruiting Ground?: Patterns of recruitment in US, and comparison with the UK, Spain and France

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Some within academic and public quarters have stated, oftentimes forcefully, that the spread of radical Islam within the correctional facilities of the United States and other states, poses an inherent and immediate threat to the security of these countreis. The goal of this paper is to examine the actual extent of the threat posed by the spread of radical Islam within the prison systems of the United States and other states. In the course of the paper we will attempt to answer the following questions: How do we define the risk? What is its nature? Is it a true threat or merely a perceived one? If an actual threat, what measures can our officials take to identify it and what can they do to mitigate and control it within our prisons? There is no denying that to some extent the threat is real. We seek to examine the true extent of this threat. Those who have investigated the rise and spread of radical Islam within our prisons consistently suggest that threat is grave. The cases of Richard Reid and Jose Padilla, both former inmates who converted to Islam and who later took up the cause of terrorism, are cited as core evidence. An al-Qaeda training manual seized by British authorities in 2003 which directs its operatives, should they be incarcerated, to actively recruit fellow inmates, is also frequently referenced. Beyond these pieces of evidence, however, the proof is limited at best. Instead, it is simply assumed that terror organizations are actively constructing a ?fifth column? composed of former inmates within our borders.To this end, we will attempt to both clinically examine and, if possible, test the threat posed by radical Islam within our prisons in an effort to determine the nature and extent of the threat. We examine a series of case studies looking at individual cases in the United States, and then place recruitment in US prison systems in a cross national comparative framework. At the individual level, we will examine cases of Padilla and Reid. We also examine the cases of other lesser-known individuals (such as Jose Emilio Suarez-Trashorras) who are known to have converted to radical Islam while in prison and who later became involved in terrorist activities. Such examinations are important insofar as they will allow us to partially address the first two questions posed above. At the international level, we will compare the US with the UK, Spain and France, three countries known to have serious problems with Islamic radicalization within their prison systems. An examination of these cases will permit us to address the remaining two questions.In addition to our case studies, we will present our preliminary descriptive and analytic statistics. It must be noted that an absence of accurate statistics is perhaps the single greatest obstacle to properly evaluating and understanding the extent of Islam radicalization within Western prisons, particularly those of the United States. Within the US, for example, prison officials do not formally survey prisoners as to their religious affiliations. Moreover, were such surveys to be conducted, the inmates are not required to respond. Further complicating the situation is the fact that the few informal surveys that have been conducted by corrections officials tend to demonstrated that many inmates simply do not know what denomination of a given religion they practice. This is a significant hurdle. That being said, we compile as thorough an examination of our Muslim prison population as possible by utilizing federal and state data, in order to at least begin to identify trends indicating the extent of conversion and subsequent radicalization of inmates. We are currently in the process of also developing a survey of Muslim prison chaplains designed to shed further light as to the percentage of radicalized Muslim inmates indoctrinated within our correctional facilities. Finally, this paper will conclude with appropriate recommendations, based upon our findings, that we believe would assist policy-makers in thwarting and controlling Islamic radicalization within US prison systems, while respecting prisoners legitimate rights to the exercise of their religious beliefs while incarcerated. These recommendations should be implemented at two levels, namely, prevention and rehabilitation. Preventative measures would entail a more thorough vetting process of the clerics, contractors and volunteers providing Islamic services to inmates. They would entail the implementation of training for corrections officers, allowing them to identify radicalization. Prevention would likewise entail the screening of all Islamic literature disseminated within prisons. Rehabilitation would entail identifying inmates at-risk of being radicalized as well as individuals who have already been radicalized. To this end, it has been suggested by one author that out-reach programs could be successfully implemented. The viability of such programs will be examined.

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prison (255), islam (161), muslim (136), radic (114), popul (65), within (63), recruit (61), unit (60), terrorist (58), state (57), servic (56), terror (55), inmat (51), 2005 (51), system (51), 2004 (50), 2006 (39), religi (37), padilla (36), 2001 (36), us (36),
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Rupp, Eric. and Erickson, Christian. "Prisons, Radical Islam's New Recruiting Ground?: Patterns of recruitment in US, and comparison with the UK, Spain and France" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Town & Country Resort and Convention Center, San Diego, California, USA, Mar 22, 2006 <Not Available>. 2013-12-17 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p99381_index.html>

APA Citation:

Rupp, E. and Erickson, C. W. , 2006-03-22 "Prisons, Radical Islam's New Recruiting Ground?: Patterns of recruitment in US, and comparison with the UK, Spain and France" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Town & Country Resort and Convention Center, San Diego, California, USA Online <PDF>. 2013-12-17 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p99381_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Some within academic and public quarters have stated, oftentimes forcefully, that the spread of radical Islam within the correctional facilities of the United States and other states, poses an inherent and immediate threat to the security of these countreis. The goal of this paper is to examine the actual extent of the threat posed by the spread of radical Islam within the prison systems of the United States and other states. In the course of the paper we will attempt to answer the following questions: How do we define the risk? What is its nature? Is it a true threat or merely a perceived one? If an actual threat, what measures can our officials take to identify it and what can they do to mitigate and control it within our prisons? There is no denying that to some extent the threat is real. We seek to examine the true extent of this threat. Those who have investigated the rise and spread of radical Islam within our prisons consistently suggest that threat is grave. The cases of Richard Reid and Jose Padilla, both former inmates who converted to Islam and who later took up the cause of terrorism, are cited as core evidence. An al-Qaeda training manual seized by British authorities in 2003 which directs its operatives, should they be incarcerated, to actively recruit fellow inmates, is also frequently referenced. Beyond these pieces of evidence, however, the proof is limited at best. Instead, it is simply assumed that terror organizations are actively constructing a ?fifth column? composed of former inmates within our borders.To this end, we will attempt to both clinically examine and, if possible, test the threat posed by radical Islam within our prisons in an effort to determine the nature and extent of the threat. We examine a series of case studies looking at individual cases in the United States, and then place recruitment in US prison systems in a cross national comparative framework. At the individual level, we will examine cases of Padilla and Reid. We also examine the cases of other lesser-known individuals (such as Jose Emilio Suarez-Trashorras) who are known to have converted to radical Islam while in prison and who later became involved in terrorist activities. Such examinations are important insofar as they will allow us to partially address the first two questions posed above. At the international level, we will compare the US with the UK, Spain and France, three countries known to have serious problems with Islamic radicalization within their prison systems. An examination of these cases will permit us to address the remaining two questions.In addition to our case studies, we will present our preliminary descriptive and analytic statistics. It must be noted that an absence of accurate statistics is perhaps the single greatest obstacle to properly evaluating and understanding the extent of Islam radicalization within Western prisons, particularly those of the United States. Within the US, for example, prison officials do not formally survey prisoners as to their religious affiliations. Moreover, were such surveys to be conducted, the inmates are not required to respond. Further complicating the situation is the fact that the few informal surveys that have been conducted by corrections officials tend to demonstrated that many inmates simply do not know what denomination of a given religion they practice. This is a significant hurdle. That being said, we compile as thorough an examination of our Muslim prison population as possible by utilizing federal and state data, in order to at least begin to identify trends indicating the extent of conversion and subsequent radicalization of inmates. We are currently in the process of also developing a survey of Muslim prison chaplains designed to shed further light as to the percentage of radicalized Muslim inmates indoctrinated within our correctional facilities. Finally, this paper will conclude with appropriate recommendations, based upon our findings, that we believe would assist policy-makers in thwarting and controlling Islamic radicalization within US prison systems, while respecting prisoners legitimate rights to the exercise of their religious beliefs while incarcerated. These recommendations should be implemented at two levels, namely, prevention and rehabilitation. Preventative measures would entail a more thorough vetting process of the clerics, contractors and volunteers providing Islamic services to inmates. They would entail the implementation of training for corrections officers, allowing them to identify radicalization. Prevention would likewise entail the screening of all Islamic literature disseminated within prisons. Rehabilitation would entail identifying inmates at-risk of being radicalized as well as individuals who have already been radicalized. To this end, it has been suggested by one author that out-reach programs could be successfully implemented. The viability of such programs will be examined.

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Document Type: PDF
Page count: 29
Word count: 13544
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Prisons Radical Islam's New Recruiting Ground?: Patterns of recruitment in US and comparison with the UK France and Spain. Eric Rupp Graduate Student of Political Science Department of Political Science and Public Administration Roosevelt University. e-mail: vaille@comcast.net And Christian W. Erickson Assistant Professor of Political Science Department of Political Science and Public Administration Roosevelt University Chicago IL 60605. e-mail: cerickso@roosevelt.edu Paper Prepared for the International Studies Association 2006 Annual Convention March 22-26th 2006 San Diego CA. Note: Working Draft
1968- 97. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Waller Michael. 2003. “Testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee October 14 2003.” Last accessed 03/16/2006. Weil Patrick. 2004. “Lifting The Veil.” French Politics Culture & Society. 22(3): 142-149. Whewell Tim. 2005. “Yemeni anti-terror scheme in doubt.” (03/18/2006) Wilkinson Paul. 2000. “The Strategic Implications of Terrorism.” In Terrorism and Political Violence: A Sourcebook ed. M. L. Sondhi. Indian Council of Social Science Research. India: Har- anand Publications. 29


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