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The Spectacular FewPrisoner Radicalization and the Evolving Terrorist Threat$
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Mark S. Hamm

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814725443

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814725443.001.0001

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Islam in Prison

Islam in Prison

(p.19) 2 Islam in Prison
The Spectacular Few

Mark S. Hamm

NYU Press

This chapter traces the emergence and political role of Islam in American prisons, as well as the intersections between race and religion, beginning with Noble Drew Ali's revolutionary Moorish Science doctrine. From thence arose the Nation of Islam, which spread among prison inmates when its proponents were jailed and later grew into a stabilizing force in many prisons. As Muslim identities intensified among black prisoners in the years ahead, the trend spilled over into the massive racial ghettos of Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, affecting a symbiosis between prison and street culture. Meanwhile a different story was unfolding on the West Coast, one that would ultimately reverse the achievements of Islam behind bars and create a form of prison-based terrorism.

Keywords:   Moorish Science, Nation of Islam, Islam, race, religion, Black Muslims, prison-based terrorism, prison culture

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