A Consideration of Muslim Crime in the UK
and the Response of the British Authorities
By Pike Bishop
Why we decided to produce this document
This document is an attempt to accomplish the following three objectives:
|1.||To draw public attention to the serious and worsening problem of Muslim crime, in the UK specifically, and throughout Western Europe more generally.|
|2.||To draw attention to problematic aspects of the response of the UK authorities to Muslim crime.|
|3.||To promote a public debate on the implications, short- and long-term, of Muslim crime for Britain and its people.|
Who we hope will read this document
We hope that any and all interested parties will read this dossier. However, we particularly hope that people in the media, academia, the government, and the police force will engage with the serious issues it raises.
What do we mean by ‘Muslim crime’?
Muslim crime is simply crime committed by Muslims. That said, we have a particular concern with violent crime (up to and including terrorism), sexual crime, property crime, and organized crime as committed by Muslims. By the word Muslim, we simply mean all people of Muslim background and upbringing who have not explicitly renounced Islam, irrespective of how devout they are, or how observant of the requirements of their religion.
Why focus on Muslim crime?
Of course, no single type of crime becomes any worse in and of itself simply by virtue of having been committed by a Muslim. Nonetheless, there are good reasons to be concerned about Muslim crime in its own right. These include the following: 1
|Muslims appear to be overrepresented as the perpetrators of serious crime to an extent which is far from trivial (this claim will be justified in greater detail later).|
|Terrorism and terrorism-related offences, a crime category in which Muslims manifestly make up a massively disproportionate fraction of all convictions, impose enormous indirect costs on millions of people for long periods of time.|
|Muslims throughout the West have pronounced and undeniable separatist, supremacist, and subversive tendencies. This being the case, Muslim crime acquires a significance above and beyond that which might be expected, due to the possibility of it being — and being perceived as being — motivated by these tendencies. To rephrase, some crime is ‘just’ crime, whereas other crime will be perceived as being part of an ongoing inter-group conflict, and therefore possess the potential to further provoke that conflict. How much Muslim crime (or white crime, or black crime, or any crime, for that matter) is actually motivated by inter-group conflict is, of course, an empirical question.|
|The rate of growth of the Muslim community in the UK is extremely rapid, in both absolute and relative terms. Unusually high crime rates amongst this population therefore take on a significance they would not otherwise have.|
What qualifies us to talk about crime at all?
This document has not been produced by professional criminologists. However, it has been produced on the basis of a belief that:
|1.||Citizens engaged in the civic life of their country have both a right and an obligation to consider such key topics as crime and community cohesion.|
|2.||Educated people of good will are perfectly well-positioned to draw some provisional conclusions on these subjects on the basis of their own carefully-considered interpretation of information available in the public domain.|
We do not pretend to have all the answers to the questions we pose in this document. Indeed, it is precisely those areas where data are poor, understanding limited, or interpretation difficult that we hope will draw increased attention in the future from criminologists, police officers, and politicians, as they attempt to address the serious problems that now afflict this country.
Given that this document is not academic in nature, we have not felt the need to include all the sources for the facts and figures herein. The more important or contentious the claim in question, the more likely it will be to have a source. More general information may be unsourced. Those who are sceptical about any of our claims are invited to do their own research and make up their own minds. Either way, we are confident that the factual claims made in this document are accurate.
Why do we not discuss terrorism in this document?
With apologies to the Muslim Council of Britain for the hate crime no doubt implicit in our use of the term, Muslim terrorism has been a key public concern for so long now that we consider it to be a fairly well-worked seam. There is little we feel we can add to the discussion on terrorism, so we propose to largely ignore it in this document. We will reiterate, however, what we said above about how the indirect costs of terrorism (police budget, security services budget, airport security budgets, indirect costs through productivity losses, etc.) have not, to our knowledge, ever been calculated with any accuracy. This research should, in our opinion, be conducted so as to enable a better understanding of the costs of the presence of so many Muslims in our country.
II. A Bird’s Eye View of Muslim Crime in Britain
Obtaining a statistical overview of Muslim crime in the UK is very difficult, due to the extremely low quality of the data available, and the problems involved in their interpretation. Every three years the government releases a breakdown of criminal convictions by race. These summaries offer a significant amount of information to the student of crime, but not, sadly, information that is useful in a consideration of Muslim crime. As such, we must look to other sources.
As far as one can tell, there is no breakdown of crime rates or convictions by religion. This is the first hurdle we face in trying to gain an overview of Muslim crime in a broad, statistical sense. A breakdown for crimes such as terrorism-related offenses could undoubtedly be put together relatively easily, but it would fail to give us any insight into any other type of crime.
Given the lack of crime rate data, the most natural step is to look at the incarceration data for different religious groups. The Home Office figure of a Muslim prison population of 11% in 2008 is the obvious place for this discussion to start.2 Comparing Muslims to non-Muslims, and taking the Muslim population of the country to be approximately 4% (2.4 million out of 62 million), we calculate a disproportionality of three for the Muslim population, which is to say that three times more Muslims are in prison than we would expect given the number of Muslims in the country.
More disturbingly, it appears that this disproportionality may grow significantly if we look at high-security prisons. Four high-security prisons seem to have even larger Muslim populations than one would expect from the 11% figure. HMP Whitemoor has a Muslim population of 34%, HMP Long Lartin of 24%, HMP Full Sutton of 15%, and HMP Belmarsh of 22%. However, HMP Frankland has a Muslim population of only 3%, and there are other high-security prisons in the UK (HMP Strangeways, HMP Woodhill, HMP Wakefield, etc.) whose Muslim populations we have not been able to ascertain. Taking a weighted average of these figures to reflect different population sizes at each prison, we arrive at a figure of 18% for mid-2008.3 This figure could well go down if it were recalculated for all high-security prisons, as those for which we do not have data include one in Scotland and one in Northern Ireland, which we do not expect to have large Muslim populations. Nonetheless, the figure is a cause for concern, meaning as it does that, in the high-security prisons for which we have figures, nearly 1 in 5 inmates is a Muslim.
A complicating factor in all this analysis is that the phenomenon of conversion to Islam on the part of inmates makes it difficult to know exactly what fraction of the prison population was Muslim at the point of incarceration. According to one estimate, 30% of all people who identify as Muslims in prison converted after being incarcerated, but the accuracy of this figure is difficult to ascertain. It is also difficult to know how many people meeting our earlier definition of Muslim (i.e. being of Muslim background and upbringing and not having renounced Islam) do not identify themselves as Muslim in prison. These factors make it difficult to draw firm conclusions, but it may well be the case that the disproportionality in ‘real’ Muslim incarceration is slightly less than the factor of three calculated above.
There is a great deal more to say on this subject, but we feel that it will be more profitably said subsequent to other discussions. Accordingly, we will take this theme up again in Section VI.
|1||The reasons for this definition will become clear later on, in Section V, which features a contribution from Dr. Nicolai Sennels, a psychologist from Denmark. To summarise here, the psychological attributes inculcated by Islam appear to be at least as significant in causing Muslim crime as conscious religious feeling on the part of Muslims.|
|2||In actual fact, this figure was for England and Wales, not the whole of the UK. However, other sources suggest that the figure for England and Wales is now 12%, so taking 11% as our figure for the whole UK will keep our calculations acceptably accurate.|
|3||Of course, this figure is liable to change. Moreover, the estimates it is based on were not all made at the same point in time in 2008. Accordingly, it should be taken as a representative figure rather than an exact figure for an exact moment in time. The current figure could be somewhat higher or lower.|