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Faith needs for detainees in police stations

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A free resource prepared for Bedfordshire police to better support detainees of the Muslim faith on arrival into custody. The resource was developed working with Luton Council of Mosques and experienced Muslim chaplains working in the prison service.

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Faith needs for detainees in police stations

  1. 1. Discover Islam Luton 37c Upper George Street, Luton, LU1 2RD | contact@discover-islam.org.uk Faith needs for detainees in police stations Summary Guidance June 2015
  2. 2. Discover Islam Luton 37c Upper George Street, Luton, LU1 2RD | contact@discover-islam.org.uk CONTENTS Who are Muslims? ..........................................................................3 Synopsis .........................................................................................3 The Pillars of Islam .........................................................................4 Prayer ..........................................................................................4 Pre-requisites to offering prayer......................................................5 Types of prayer...............................................................................6 Diet..................................................................................................7 Fasting ............................................................................................7 Faith advice.....................................................................................7 Further information, training or consultancy services ..................8 Religious leadership ....................................................................8
  3. 3. Discover Islam Luton 37c Upper George Street, Luton, LU1 2RD | contact@discover-islam.org.uk Who are Muslims? A Muslim is anyone who believes in the statement: “There is none worthy of worship except Allah (God) and Mohammed is His slave and last messenger,” then acts according to the Qur’an and the teachings of Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him). Although, it may seem that Muslims are of Arab or South Asian background only, the Muslim community is very diverse, including people from the Far East to Africa, and native communities in Europe and the Americas. It is not unusual therefore to find differences of opinion and practice commonly caused by cultural differences. Even though Islam is a faith governed by divine law and the teachings of the prophet (peace be upon him), we may often find cultural practices among some Muslims that have no basis in Islam but have been inherited from ancestral traditions. In mainstream Islam, juristic differences of opinion have always been welcomed, when scholars have exerted themselves to apply the principles of Islamic teachings to new circumstances. Based on this diversity, it is important to note that not all Muslim detainees will have identical personal needs; however the core beliefs and ritual practices are consistent. Synopsis Discover Islam is a charitable organisation, which strives to present Islam in society to build mutual respect, better understanding and stronger relationships across the UK’s many diverse communities. We are continually developing initiatives to benefit the whole community as per the Islamic teachings. This has included partnerships with numerous local organisations to facilitate the needs of the local community including Luton Foodbank and Level Trust. The Discover Islam Centre was approached by Bedfordshire Police to offer advice on prayer requirements for detainees. Following the visit, further recommendations were made about faith needs and this document summarises a number of these points. We hope that this material can be of benefit for UK Police agencies and any other organisation who wish to better their understanding of the Islamic faith and meet the needs of those in custody.
  4. 4. Discover Islam Luton 37c Upper George Street, Luton, LU1 2RD | contact@discover-islam.org.uk The Pillars of Islam The Islamic faith is built on five key obligations which are the pillars of the faith that every capable Muslim individual must satisfy within their life to live a good and responsible life. The 5 Pillars are as follows: 1. Declaration of faith: the expression and belief that there is no true god but the One and only God (in Arabic referred to as Allah) and Muhammad is the Messenger of God. 2. Five daily prayers (salaah), which are compulsory upon every mature Muslim individual. 3. Fasting (sawm) during the Holy month of Ramadhan from dawn to sunset for 29 or 30 days based upon the lunar calendar. 4. Giving an annual contribution from ones surplus wealth (Zakah) to the poor and needy. 5. Undertaking pilgrimage to Makkah (hajj) compulsory upon those who are able to afford to do so. Prayer Muslims offer prayers to God at five allocated times throughout the day. Offering prayer is integral to faith and is seen as a spiritual cleansing process. The Discover Islam Centre feels this pillar to be most significant for staff at the Detention Centre to develop an understanding of, as it is the most frequent and important act of religious devotion a Muslim individual expresses. The five daily prayers are as follows: • The early morning prayer (fajr) which is offered between the period of dawn till sunrise. • The prayer offered after midday (dhohar) up until late afternoon. • The prayer from late afternoon (asr) up until 20 minutes before sunset. • The prayer from sunset to when the twilight disappears which is usually an hour slot (Maghrib).
  5. 5. Discover Islam Luton 37c Upper George Street, Luton, LU1 2RD | contact@discover-islam.org.uk • The Night prayer (Isha) can be prayed anytime after twilight disappears until dawn. It is recommended that staff at the Detention Centre consider keeping a prayer timetable at the facility as prayer timings are essential for those detainees who may wish to pray. This can be provided upon request through Discover Islam Luton. The prayers should take no longer than 10-15 minutes each. Pre-requisites to offering prayer There are a number of pre-requisite requirements related to cleanliness for prayers: Washing 1. In order to prepare for the prayers, it is essential that a Muslim must be clean of any impurities as this is an appropriate manner to stand before God. This process of cleaning ones body is called wudhu and consists of washing any impurity from private parts (after using the bathroom) as well as washing hands, arms (up to the elbow), face, ears, head and feet (up to the ankles). In order to clean off impurities from using the bathroom, Muslim detainees require a bottle/vessel (whichever meets the safety requirement) of water to wash their private areas after relieving themselves. It is important that facilities can be provided to offer individuals, some level of privacy when washing one’s private parts. 2. In some cases those who have been sexually active (prior to arrival) or have a ‘wet dream’ are required to take full body shower which is known as ‘Ghusl’. 3. An individual loses this state of ritual purity by relieving oneself (by passing wind, urination or excretion), sleeping or bleeding, and is required to complete the ablution process. Dress 4. The clothing an individual is wearing must be clean in order for the individual to be able to offer prayer as they have to be clean and presentable in front of God.
  6. 6. Discover Islam Luton 37c Upper George Street, Luton, LU1 2RD | contact@discover-islam.org.uk Prayer space 5. One of the acts of prayer is to prostrate on the ground and it’s important that the ground that one prays on is clean, hence a prayer mat is used. Discover Islam can provide these upon request. Direction 6. Prayers must be read facing the direction of Makkah (qibla) in which Muslims face to pray, which is South East on the compass Additional resources 7. If a prayer hat or prayer beads are requested, these items are also available for free from Discover Islam. Aside from praying at the appointed times throughout the day, an individual may wish to occupy their time with reading of the Islamic scripture – the Quran. English translations of the meaning of the Qur’an as well as versions in other languages including Arabic are available on request from Discover Islam. Types of prayer It is highly recommended for Muslim males to offer their prayers at the mosque (masjid) and in congregation, although it is permissible for the daily prayers to be prayed individually. The only mandatory prayer to be prayed in congregation is the Friday midday prayer (Jummah). Based on national guidelines for detention facilities, prisoners are offered an hour every week for congregational prayer with their registered faith. Since this is a temporary facility we understand that it may potentially be difficult to offer such services. However, we request that this is given some serious consideration in the future as for some individuals, irrespective of their attachment to faith, the Jummah prayer is one which from childhood has become an obligatory ritual. The Discover Islam Centre can provide links to Muslim Chaplains within the vicinity of Luton who may be able to conduct the services or aid in making suitable arrangements for the offering of such prayers for detainees.
  7. 7. Discover Islam Luton 37c Upper George Street, Luton, LU1 2RD | contact@discover-islam.org.uk Diet Muslims are prohibited from consuming some foodstuff such as pork and alcohol (or any products containing them). These foods are known as forbidden (haraam) for Muslim consumption and those, which are acceptable, are termed halal. Halal items are very similar in preparation to kosher food which ensure appropriate bloodletting and remembrance of the name of God when slaughtering any livestock. Fish are exempt from this slaughter and therefore Muslims often opt for vegetarian or fish meals when halal meat is not available. It is important that there is no cross- contamination with prohibited foodstuffs when cutting, preparing or handling halal food. Discover Islam can provide further information regarding Muslim dietary requirements if required. Fasting The Islamic Calendar is based on the lunar (moon) calendar and there are occasions throughout the year that have significant religious relevance. One such occasion is the month of Ramadhan in which the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). During this month Muslims fast from dawn until sunset. The act of fasting in this month involves ensuring that no food or drink must be consumed and generally Muslims avoid taking part in any physically enduring tasks as fasts can last up to 20 hours in the summer period of year. The month of Ramadhan is followed by the festive celebration of Eid, which involves Muslims praying a special Eid prayer in congregation. There is another Eid celebration approximately two months after Ramadhan, which follows the event of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. We can support the Police service to facilitate attendance to either of the Eid congregational prayers on request. Faith advice We recommend that a Muslim Chaplain is made available to detainees at least once a week to provide for the pastoral, emotional and spiritual needs of Muslim detainees. Discover Islam is in contact with local Imams and current Muslim Prison Chaplains who can offer advice services to the Police force on request.
  8. 8. Discover Islam Luton 37c Upper George Street, Luton, LU1 2RD | contact@discover-islam.org.uk Other useful contacts Further information, training or consultancy services Discover Islam Luton 37c Upper George Street Luton LU1 2RD Email: contact@discover-islam.org.uk Religious leadership • Council of Islamic Scholars Contact: Imam Saqib Mahmood, Zuhri Academy • Luton Council of Mosques Email lutonmosques@gmail.com Correspondence address: 95 Maple Road Luton Bedfordshire LU4 8BQ

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