Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Islam in Prison
Lawrence H. Mamiya
The religion of Islam has increased rapidly in the United States and its prisons over the past 40 years. There are currently an estimated 5 to 7 million Muslims in the United States, with the following ethnic distribution: 29% are African American, 29% are South Asian, and 20% are Arab. There are smaller percentages among African, European, and other Asian groups. When Malcolm X converted to Sunni Islam in 1964, there were an estimated 3,000 African American Sunni Muslims. By 2003, that number had grown to between 1 and 2 million. In federal and state correctional facilities, a sizable number of inmates have converted to Islam. For example, according to Imam Luqman Abdur Shahid, the former director of Ministerial Services of New York City Department of Corrections, in 1999 Islam replaced Catholicism as the religion of preference among the 17,000 daily inmates on Rikers Island. In New York state prisons, ...