This story, unsurprisingly, does not fully address the reasons why there is a high crime rate among Muslim immigrants to Europe. Nevertheless, it contains some useful information. From the New York Times, with thanks to Anthony:
In less than a decade, there has been a radical shift in France’s prison population, a shift that officials and experts say poses a monumental challenge.
Despite making up only 10 percent of the population, Muslims account for most of the country’s inmates and a growing percentage of the prison populations in many other European countries, an indication of their place at the bottom of the Continent’s hierarchy.
With radical strains of Islam percolating through Europe, authorities are unsure how to address the spiritual needs of the prisoners while guarding against the potentially toxic mix of extremist ideology and a criminal past. One result is often neglect, which officials say can be a still greater force for radicalization….
Two months ago Pierre Raffin, the director of La SantÃ© detention center, warned officials looking into the role of religion in France that extremist proselytizing in prisons was growing.
Other countries are facing the same problem. Spain’s chief counterterrorism magistrate, Baltazar GarzÃ³n, said recently that the men accused of plotting to blow up the country’s main counterterrorism court were recruited from among fellow inmates by an Islamic militant serving time for credit card fraud.
Most famously, Richard Reid, who tried to blow up a Miami-bound airliner in December 2001 using a bomb in his shoe, converted to Islam while in a British jail.
Those who are detained or convicted for terrorist-related crimes are not always separated from the larger prison population and are often ready to act as spiritual guides at a time when mainstream Muslim chaplains are in severely short supply.
Abdullah (prison rules prevented him from giving his last name) said that while he was at Fleury-Merogis, militants were active in the prison yard, preaching that Christians and Jews are enemy infidels. In May, the militants defied prison rules by organizing a prayer meeting during an exercise break. Several prisoners were disciplined as a result.
“Islam is becoming in Europe, especially France, the religion of the repressed, what Marxism was in Europe at one time,” said Farhad Khosrokhavar, an Iranian-French scholar who has written a book on Islam in prisons. He says the growing Muslim prison population is evidence of an Islamic underclass that is developing across Europe and, at its margins, is increasingly sympathetic to the coalescing ideologies of political Islam.